Weapons offences

In 2017, approximately 6,460 offences concerning the possession of firearms were reported in Sweden, as well as 10,200 offences against the Knife Act.

Number of reported weapons offences

Reported offences against the Knives and Other Weapons (Prohibition) Act (sections 1, 2, 4) and Crimes against the Law on possession of weapons (9 ch. 1–3 §), 2008 – 2017. Source: Reported offences

The Knife Act regulates the extent to which one may have a knife in a public place. It is forbidden to have knives and other piercing or slicing weapons which are intended to be used as a weapon in public places, schools, or in vehicles in public places. However, it is important to remember that a report need not entail that the knife is actually used.

The Law on possession of weapons regulates the possession of various types of firearms, for instance hunting rifles, guns and machine guns. A permit is required for the possession or import of firearms or ammunition into Sweden.

Cleared offences

Person-based clearance rate¹ for offences against the Knives and Other Weapons (Prohibition) Act (sections 1, 2, 4), 2006 – 2015. Source: Processed offences

Often arrested in the act

The percentage of knife offences where a suspect can be tied to the offence is very high as compared with other offences, and approximately two-thirds of offences lead to a person-based clearance. This is a result of the fact that the police often arrested the suspected person in the act. Knife offences are often discovered in connection with threatening situations or cases of assault.

Knives are common weapons in violent incidents with a lethal outcome and have been so since the 1970s. Knives are used most often when violence takes place indoors, which can be explained to a large extent by the fact that knives are available in residences. (Brå 2012:13)

Brå's school survey among year-nine youth shows that the percentage of young people carrying knives has declined over recent years; the percentage was 16 per cent in 1995, 10 per cent in 2008, and 8 per cent in the most recent survey in 2011.

Persons found guilty of knife crime

The number of convictions for offences against the Knives and Other Weapons (Prohibition) Act as the primary offence, 2008 – 2017. Source: Persons found guilty of offences

During 2015, the number of convictions for offences against the Knives and Other Weapons Act as the the primary offence increased by 11 per cent.

1) Person-based clearance means that a person suspected of the offence has been tied to the offence through an indictment, the issuance of a summary sanction order, or the issuance of a waiver of prosecution.

  • The person-based clearance rate reports the number of offences with person-based clearances during one year as a percentage of the number of processed offences during the same year. As from 2014, an adjusted person-based clearance rate is reported. The metric is essentially structured in the same way as previously, however, it is calculated based on all processed offences instead of all reported offences.

  • The conviction rate reports the number of person-based clearances during one year as a per cent of all investigated offences, excluding offences with limitations of investigation during the same period.