Swedish paramedics have a high risk job. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello via Getty Images)


Swedish rescue workers given bulletproof vests


High crime levels in Sweden are pushing rescue workers to drastic measures; those in the city of Uppsala, near Stockholm, will be equipped with bulletproof vests.

Swedish trade union magazine Kommunalarbetaren reported that ambulance paramedics felt safer with the body armour, more commonly associated with security forces and soldiers.

One medic told the magazine: “We had a threatening person with a weapon involved. The police clearly said to put on your vest because we don’t know what we have.

“You make sure you have your back and the escape route clear, make sure you don’t stand against a corner or a wall.

“The ambulance staff feel exposed in a different way than when I started six years ago. It has escalated,” the medic said.

“Maybe it’s my turn today”.

Bulletproof vests became a topic of debate after a terrorist attack in the Drottninggatan area of Stockholm in 2017.

It is said medics also receive calls from certain so-called “risk areas”, where they are more prone to physical assault.

Uppsala has been hit by several shootings amid an upsurge in gang crime.

Currently, the city is the only region in Sweden where bulletproof vests have been introduced.

In other cities scarred by increased levels of crime, such as Stockholm and Dalarna, paramedics do not want to use the safety gear.

Kommunalarbetaren noted that ambulance personnel in Gävleborg county in central-East Sweden have received training on how to deal with threatening, aggressive situations.