Restricted areas may be abolished

Military restricted areas may be abolished and military vehicles may be made 'protected objects'. These are among the proposals put forward by the so-called Protective Law Commission in its report recently submitted to the Government.

The Special Commissioner, Olof Egerstedt, has been assigned the task of examining the 1990 legislation concerning the protection of vital installations, and especially the areas to which this legislation should apply.
"The main thrust of the task has been on the civil side. Installations which are vital to the functioning of society are becoming both more numerous and more vulnerable", says Olof Egerstedt.

"Out of tune with the times"
The Protective law Commission proposes, among other things, that military restricted areas should be abolished. Restricted areas were introduced in 1912 in order to protect military installations from threats such as spying on land or from seaward.
"They have outlived their role in our military defences and no longer fulfil a useful function. The regulations will soon be a hundred years old. Besides, it is out of tune with the times to apply regulations which infringe people's rights, but only in the case of foreign nationals", says Olof Egerstedt.

The traditional forms of so-called military protection are retained as at present, for example protection against sabotage, espionage and the like.
"The big change is that a new form of protection, the protection of assets against serious organised crime, is being brought in. This will make it possible to protect the Armed Forces' assets to a greater extent against criminal activity, for instance theft."

Straightening out the question mark
According to the proposals, locations at which the Armed Forces conduct exercise activities, or "where the consequences of such activities exist", may be made protected objects.
"This means that if plans have been made for exercise activity and if something unplanned occurs, such as an accident, the location may be made a protected object. We have previously discussed how it might be possible to make the scene of an accident a protected object. Now we are straightening out that question mark", says Olof Egerstedt.

It is also proposed that the concept of a protected object should be extended to allow it cover areas where foreign military forces are exercising in Sweden. The concept may also be extended to allow military vehicles to be made protected objects.

"This applies primarily to combat vehicles but it would allow all vehicles included in the register of military vehicles to be made protected objects. A mission-based defence depends on increased mobility and so it is my opinion that if one has a column of vehicles including weapons and military personnel, it should be possible to make it a protected object", concludes Olof Egerstedt.

The proposals are now being circulated for comment. It is proposed that the new legislation should come into force on 1 October next year.