Fredrik Reinfeldt: Insurers and the police should work together to prevent crime

Former Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt calls for the authorities and the private sector to cooperate in crime prevention. Reinfeldt acted as the Chairman of the Swedish Commission for Crime Prevention and Increased Security, which was founded in 2017 by the insurance sector with the objective of finding solutions to everyday crime, repelling international criminal groups, and investigating online fraud.

“The insurance sector possesses an enormous amount of data on fraud and other types of crime. Only some of the cases are reported to the police, and the police investigates only some of the reports”, Reinfeldt notes. “The private sector and the police should cooperate much more closely in fraud prevention.”

According to Reinfeldt, the Swedish police and legal system have focused mainly on crimes that have severe penalties. Under his lead, the Commission for Crime Prevention and Increased Security sought out more ways to engage social actors and businesses in crime prevention.

The Swedish rate of successfully detected and investigated crime is notably lower than in Finland, where nearly 40 percent of all property crime cases were cleared last year.

“The close cooperation of the Finnish police, customs and border guard has produced good results in the prevention of cross-border crime. The financial sector has also actively participated in the cooperation”, says Risto Karhunen, head of security and loss prevention at Finance Finland.

Reinfeldt sees potential in this type of action that invites the private sector, such as insurers, to collaborate with authorities.

“The insurance sector possesses substantial amounts of information on criminal groups, which may never reach the police without adequate cooperation.”

Reinfeldt is less enthusiastic about increasing the number of police personnel. It would be more efficient to focus on the causes of crime, such as social inequality.

“The so-called quality-of-life crimes have minor penalties and the number of available police personnel doesn’t make a large difference. More attention should be paid to other social factors”, Reinfeldt says.