Increase skills in counter-terrorism

Lecturers from Säpo (Swedish Security Service), the national police force and the police's crisis management unit visited the Life Guards for a week and trained personnel from the Swedish Armed Forces in counter-terrorism. During the course, participants learned how the Swedish Armed Forces may act within the realm of the law.

The course is based on a law from 2006 which allows the Swedish armed forces to support the police in counter-terrorism if the police ask for support. The law provides, among other things, Swedish Armed Forces personnel with the right to exercise the same type of force that the police may exercise.

"But to be able to do so, one must have the right background and training. One gains this via the course where, among other things, one covers fundamental laws, criminal law and the police act" says Major Peter Sterner who works at the Life Guards' military police unit.
Among other things, participants carry out a number of teamwork exercises with training cases during the course where they assume a standpoint on how they may act in accordance within their rights in various situations and in accordance with laws.

"In the event of a real event, those who have completed the course are to be able to lead efforts or support their superiors when it comes to decision-making" says Peter Sterner.

Only in case of emergency

Even if there is a legal basis, it is up to the police to decide whether the the Swedish Armed Forces' support is needed or not.
"For example, we can provide assistance if the situation gets so serious that the police lack or do not have sufficient resources. Then we have access to e.g. systems for surveillance from the air, armed air forces, armed marine forces, anti-aircraft forces and special forces. We can provide various surveillance and protective services and help with transports" says Peter Sterner.

In the event of providing forces in cooperation with the police and the military, the military forces answer to a military head who is directed by the police.

Proactive training

In the future, the idea is that the training should be carried out annually.
"We want to distribute the knowledge so that we enable the Swedish Armed Forces to provide proper support if the police ask for it" says Peter Sterner.

Corresponding laws exist in all the Scandinavian countries. However, the law is still unproven in Sweden.
"The background of the law stems from what happened in the USA on Sept 11, 2001. We have fortunately not had to make use of the law yet, but upon the shootings in Norway and Denmark, the military was called in to support the police" says Peter Sterner.