The police can and do learn. Tracing policy changes in the police work against organized crime
Bureaucracies in general, and the police in particular, are slow moving creatures, often unable to learn or improve their work. This is a common topic in criminological literature and other research covering the police. This paper will exemplify the opposite. By looking at a few case studies of aggravated robberies in 2005 and in 2008/2009, respectively, the paper will illustrate how the police actually learned or changed police policies. In particular, the paper will analyze change in the form of systematized intelligence analysis and the use of “target lists” of individuals participating in organized crime.
A wide range of armed robberies against cash-in-transit vehicles were carried out in Sweden during the 1990s and the early 2000s. Two of the most spectacular ones occurred in August 2005. In one case, the robbers blocked off a highway, causing a massive traffic jam, and carried out the robbery in broad daylight. In the other, the robbers forced their way into a cash depot using a construction vehicle.
After that, the Swedish police started to systematize the information they had about the criminals committing these robberies. The work involved the police at the national level, the regional police, security companies, and civil authorities with the aim of reducing the number of robberies by successfully coordinating information about suspects and have them convicted.
Another example of how the Swedish police changed is the use of “target lists.” These lists consist of the names of criminals convicted and/or suspected of participating in organized crime, not least armed robberies against cash-in-transit vehicles and cash depots.
In 2008 and 2009, other spectacular robberies occurred in Sweden. This paper argues that the way the Swedish police acted against those crimes can actually be seen as concrete examples of how the police have implemented policy changes, partially influenced by the aforementioned robberies in 2005.