Police criticised over Swedish resident’s jailing

Court rules that the six-day detainment of Serbian national was illegal

A decision by the Copenhagen Police and a city court to detain a Serbian national for six days because he didn’t have a work permit was illegal, the Eastern High Court has ruled.

The man, who holds permanent residence in Sweden but works in Denmark as a cleaner, initially went to the tax office, Skat, but was told he required a work permit from the Immigration Services. But when he arrived at the Immigration Services, officials there called the police and he was imprisoned until they could ascertain whether to expel him from Denmark or merely reject his application.

The Eastern High Court, however, said that the decision to detain the man was illegal and that a municipal court judge made the wrong decision to impose the initial and subsequent extension of the detainment.

The man’s lawyer, Jakob Kiil, said the police had been over-zealous in detaining him for such a long period of time and that jailing him for six days in two different jails was a waste of resources.

“It’s too much. You don’t need to use such heavy-handed tactics when it is not necessary,” Kiil told Ritzau news service. “The police could easily have solved the problem by putting him on a train back to Sweden.”

This is not the first time the police find themselves in hot water over rash decisions. In November last year, the high court dismissed a similar case involving another foreign worker who also lived in Sweden.

Kiil encouraged the police to seek other options than detainment in similar cases in the future.