By JR on Monday, February 06, 2012
Police in Malmö have taken the unusual decision to cordon off the entrance to the accident and emergency department at the Skåne University Hospital following the latest in a rising number of fatal shooting incidents.
”There is a continual threat,” said Hans Olsson, assistant security manager at the hospital to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN), adding that they have taken this extreme measure in response to the rising number of shootings recently.
In a bid to tighten up security arrangements at the hospital, the main way in will be closed off for only the second time in living memory, as early as next week, according to reports in Dagens Nyheter.
Monday saw the latest in a spate of murders that has caused panic throughout the city. Police immediately cordoned off the crime scene where the incident took place, but also decided to stop anyone getting into the A&E building.
As a crowd of some 60 people began to gather outside the entrance, the police were forced to push them back in a bid to secure those inside. "The staff felt threatened by the large quantity of people trying to push in," said Mats Hansson of the Malmö health care union to DN.
The authorities claimed that it was necessary to close the entrance to reduce the risk of criminal gangs who are involved in the ongoing escalation of violence in Skåne getting inside and causing even more trouble.
Security at the hospital in both the previous and current location has gradually been ramped up since the mid 90s, following the fatal shooting of a patient by a policeman.
After that incident, staff were equipped with voluntary panic alarms, although new measures have since come into force making it compulsory to carry them at all times.
In addition, staff have received training in self-defence and how to deal with threatening situations, while extra security guards and surveillance cameras have also been installed at the hospital.