The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) are appointed by the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) to ensure that public authorities and their staff comply with the laws and other statutes governing their actions.
A reporter on the Swedish public service broadcaster (SVT) news programme ‘Uppdrag granskning’ requested to access documents from the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) and the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation concerning the procurement of medical helicopters. In the Parliamentary Ombudsmen investigation of the case it became clear that the officials at the authorities, in some cases, used their private email for communication, and so forth neglected to register the case’s public documents, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen is very critical towards this fact. The authorities are further criticised as their management led to restricting the disclosure of public documents. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen is also critical towards the Swedish Maritime Administration for stating that the principle of public access in a certain situation would be “directly counterproductive”. Statements that can lead to the apprehension that an authority intentionally avoids the constitution’s requirements on the disclosure of public documents, significantly risks, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s understanding, damaging the authority’s credibility. The Swedish Maritime Administration is also criticised by the Parliamentary Ombudsmen for handing out public documents without conducting a secrecy test.
E.H. had been in a dispute with security guards. The police decided to take E.H. to her home, pursuant to section 13 of the Police Act. During the transport to E.H.’s home E.H. questioned the police’s actions, the responsible police sergeant then decided to apprehend E.H. pursuant to the Care of Intoxicated Persons Act. In the report concerning the apprehension it was written that the decision to apprehend E.H. was based upon the severity of E.H.’s intoxication, and that she posed a danger to herself and others. During the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s investigation of the case the police sergeant declared that E.H.’s irritation increased during the transport and that he therefore believed it was inappropriate to take E.H. home to her partner and two children, the police sergeant also explained that the thought of taking E.H. to her home gave him a bad feeling. A guard that was involved in the transport described in a questioning how they concluded, because of the way E.H. was acting out, that it was better for E.H. to be in custody, than at home with her children. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen states that an apprehension based upon intoxication can constitute a significant invasion of privacy. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen puts forward that the police may use their powers only when the prerequisite for the police’s jurisdiction is met and only when based on good judgement, adding that a police officer must never be affected by irritation or anger. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also states that a police officer can not allow their personal opinion about what is appropriate or not affect an intervention. If a person is apprehended due to intoxication, the intoxicated person must pose a danger to themselves or others. Based on the information that has been collected, E.H.’s intoxication did not indicate that she was not capable of taking care of herself, or would pose a danger for her children or her partner, if she had been taken to her home. The police sergeant’s decision to apprehend E.H. because of intoxication had therefore no legal basis, the police sergeant is criticised for his actions.
In connection to a police surveillance operation on vehicles at a property linked to a motorcycle club the police were confronted by two persons that asked them to leave. The police officers concluded, as the two persons were under the influence of alcohol, that they posed a danger to themselves and others, and apprehended them pursuant to the Care of Intoxicated Persons Act. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen states that an apprehension based upon intoxication can constitute a significant invasion of privacy. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen puts forward that the police may use their powers only when the prerequisite for the police’s jurisdiction is met and only when based on good judgement, adding that a police officer must never be affected by irritation or anger. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also states that someone that is under the influence of alcohol and aggressive does not meet up to the required conditions for an apprehension pursuant to the Care of Intoxicated Persons Act. To apprehend a person pursuant to the Care of Intoxicated Persons Act the intoxication must be as severe that the person in question needs to be taken care of. In this case, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen had access to a film that shows parts of the apprehension. Based on what is shown in the film the Parliamentary Ombudsmen has come to the conclusion that the apprehended persons did not pose a danger to themselves or others pursuant to what is provided in section 1 of the Care of Intoxicated Persons Act. The police officers assessment in this case is not acceptable, which is even more evident when considering the constraints on apprehension in a private area. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the Police Authority for conducting an apprehension pursuant to the Care of Intoxicated Persons Act, without having had support for it.
Göteborg district court appoint public defence counsellors according to a system of lists of lawyers assigned by the court. Due to critic towards one lawyer represented on the district court’s lists, the chief judge at the district court decided to remove the lawyer from all of the so-called lists of appointed lawyers. In the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s decision, criticism is directed towards the chief judge for the handling of information concerning the lawyer. If the chief judge found that the critic against the lawyer was of substance he should have verified the critic and so forth handed the information over to the district court’s employees responsible for assigning public defence counsellors. They had then had the possibility, as they conduct their screening of defence counsellors pursuant to Chapter 21 Section 5 of the Code of Judicial Procedure, to consider the information.
According to the course description for legal history, at the Department of Law at Stockholm University, students were able to demand a re-examination of their exam, within a certain time span. The re-examination meant that the examiner conducted a new material assessment of the exam. When the time limit for the re-examination had expired, the student could request a review of the exam, if, according to the course description, it was based on formal grounds. In a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen a student declared that the university limited students’ right to receive a full review. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen states that there is no evidence to support that a student need to submit a review within a certain time span and that the course description gives the impression that the review only includes correction. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen holds that the information may lead to students not exercising their right to request a material review when the time limit has expired. In the present case Stockholm University can not escape criticism for giving out misleading information in their course description.
The police can not apprehend a person for intoxication if the person is at home. In the present compliant case the Parliamentary Ombudsmen has examined cases concerning the apprehension of intoxicated persons in an inner courtyard of a block of flats, and also in a stairwell of a block of flats. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen, neither an inner courtyard nor a stairwell belongs to a private home, pursuant to the provisions concerning apprehension based upon intoxication. For this reason, there is no prohibition against apprehending a person for intoxication on these premises. The purpose of prohibiting an apprehension of an intoxicated person in a private home is to protect the person’s right to personal integrity and privacy. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen has observed that a person was apprehended after stepping out of their home into the stairwell, to talk to the police. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen holds that an intoxicated person has not waived the right prohibiting the apprehension of an intoxicated person in a private home, when the person step out of their home to talk to the police, due to, for example, the reason that there are other people in the home. The same applies in situations when the police has not met the intoxicated person in the person’s home but asked the person to leave the home to talk to them. In situations like these, there are no preconditions to apprehend a person for intoxication, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen. The Police Authority is criticised for conducting the apprehension in a stairwell.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s investigation points to significant failures in the placement of unaccompanied minors and the social service’s follow up of the minor’s care.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen's overall statements for each supervisory area the year 2015/16.
The Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsmen - JOBox 16327 • SE-103 26 Stockholm • SwedenVisiting Address: Västra Trädgårdsgatan 4 AOpening hours: 9.00–12.00, 13.00–15.00