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In Sweden, “doctors and teachers are escorted to work by the police”? It’s not true

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In the discussion about migrants, the message is repeated that in Sweden, due to the danger on the streets, teachers were transported to schools and doctors were escorted to work by the police. It is dangerous because of the migrants. That’s not true. We explain what is the source of this manipulation.

Law and Justice MEP Bogdan Rzońca on June 19, on Polish Radio 24, criticized the EU migration package, i.e. a document introducing mechanisms to relieve countries hosting large numbers of refugees. Rzońca explained why PiS wanted to organize a referendum in this case. He said asking citizens “a key security issue” was very important because:

We should not allow a situation where, for example, teachers will be transported to schools as in Sweden, because it is simply dangerous on the street.

We asked the MEP about the source of these reports, but he replied that he did not remember where he got this information, but it was a Polish source. He promised to check but stopped answering our calls and didn’t reply to our message.

But the story of teachers allegedly being driven to schools in Sweden because of the alleged danger on the streets caused by the presence of migrants has appeared before in online discussions about the EU’s migration pact. The authors of posts in social media reported that not only Swedish teachers, but also doctors are not so much “delivered” as “escorted” to work, in addition by the police.

For example, on June 11, one Facebook user posted entry beginning with the words: “The immigration relocation commissioner (Ylva Johansson – ed.) comes from Sweden. A country where Muslim gangs control entire city blocks, checking who enters their territory. A country where doctors and teachers are escorted to work by the police.” He continued: “What they do in France or Germany is known. It’s just that we don’t have that number. There will be no Islamic terror on the streets of Polish cities. And this is not called xenophobia, but common sense and care for the safety of Poles. That’s about it.”

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Misleading post about doctor and teacher escorts in SwedenFacebook

Similar claims appeared on the internet three years ago – in September 2020. One of Twitter’s uses he wrote then: “Emigrant gangs control Gothenburg. They use their own law enforcement forces, wage wars over territory, beat and kidnap people. Doctors and teachers are escorted to work by the police. The ruling socialists of Sweden have created a ‘promised land’ for them and they can’t stop it.”

We checked where such information could come from and whether it is true or up to date.

Gothenburg city hall and police deny this

We asked the Gothenburg City Hall and the police of the western region, which includes Gothenburg, to verify the message circulating in the network. Office spokeswoman Christina Terfors told us on June 27:

We have no information that teachers are escorted to and from their workplaces by security services.

And the representative of the West Region Police in Gothenburg, Lars Grimbeck, informed us on June 30 that the police “do not have facts to support this information.”

Looking for the sources of the circulating narrative, we found reports in the Polish media about events in Angered, a district of Gothenburg, in August 2020. A correspondent of the Polish Press Agency in a telegram entitled “Sweden: gangs control Gothenburg” reported that “there is a Kurdish clan of the Ali Khan family in the north-eastern districts of Gothenburg”, there are shootings in the city and a primary school worker was beaten up in the Angered district. “As a result of these tensions, the Gothenburg authorities decided to assign protection to employees of the Angered district, including doctors and teachers. They will be escorted to and from work,” reported the agency’s correspondent.

Later, texts based on this dispatch were published by a number of portals, including Natemat.pl, Tvp.info, Pch24.pl, Rmf24.pl, O2.pl, Kresy.pl.

The administration of the region: “We did not escort any doctors”

Because in these online messages, apart from teachers, doctors were also mentioned, despite the denials of the city hall and the police, we sent questions on this matter to the authorities of the Vastra Goetaland region, to which Gothenburg belongs. The regional administration is responsible for organizing parts of the health care system in Sweden.

Bjoern Johansson from the press office of the Vastra Goetaland region administration wrote back to us on June 30 that this message may refer to the situation in August 2020. Back then, in the Angered district of Gothenburg, security measures were temporarily increased due to a conflict between two gangs. “There is no public information on the nationality or origin of those involved,” Johansson said, adding:

We have not escorted any physicians or other staff to or from health facilities, but have suspended home visits to patients in this particular area for a limited time.

What was the purpose of the car with bodyguards in 2020

The representative of the regional authorities sent us to article Swedish newspaper “Goeteborgs-Posten”, which on August 27, 2020, published a text entitled “Gang Conflict: City Keeps Workers Safe”.

The text reported that due to the conflict between two gangs from the Backa and Angered districts, the authorities hired additional security guards who patrolled the Angered district in the evenings. “In addition, the district has purchased a security car that will support approximately 1,900 aged care, home care and social care workers,” the article said. Johan Faelt, head of the Angered district administration, explained that the purpose of buying the car was “so that if employees are concerned, they can call and get support from security guards”. “If they were concerned and would like to go home, they can also get help with that,” he explained.

Bjoern Johansson from the administration of the Vastra Goetaland region explained in response to Konkret24 that only medics performing home visits in the Angered area could benefit from such protection if they reported such a need. “This was not a standard procedure, but an offer to increase the safety of employees. They sometimes visit the elderly at night when they need help,” wrote Johansson.

After a week everything was back to normal

Reports about “teachers driven to schools” or “doctors escorted by the police” in Sweden are therefore untrue for several reasons. Firstly, the security measures applied in one of Gothenburg’s districts at the turn of August and September 2020 were only for employees of the health and social care system who carried out home visits. A car with bodyguards bought for this purpose was a temporary proposition for those employees who could call him to the place of some unpleasant situation or ask for an escort.

Secondly, it is not true that teachers and doctors in Sweden are still driven to work or escorted by the police. Swedish weekly “Dagens Samhaelle” at the beginning of September 2020 he informedthat the idea of ​​using cars with bodyguards was born in the last week of August, and in the first week of September it could be abandoned. In an interview with the weekly, the head of security coordination in the administration of the Angered district, Lisa Pedersen, said that the measures applied after the first week brought the expected results and on August 31 it was decided to gradually withdraw them. “Since yesterday [31 sierpnia – red.] We have entered a new phase of our work. The situation regarding the obvious crime that was so palpable to our residents and employees, especially in Hjaellbo, Hammarkullen and Loevgaerdet, is now different. Everything is back to normal,” Pedersen said.

Thirdly, the sources we have reached do not confirm that any dangerous situations were caused by migrants or refugees. Therefore, the message being sent out now seems to be designed to create anxiety about migrants, and the 2020 event was used as a basis for this manipulation.

Main photo source: Robin Aron/Ombrello via Getty Images

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