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What legal grounds does an inspector have to detain someone?

Those who operate public transport are entitled to charge a penalty fare to passengers who are unable to produce a valid ticket on inspection. A passenger who refuses to use a ticket or pay the penalty fare can also be asked to leave the vehicle. The rules on penalty fares are stipulated in the law on penalty fares for public transport.

Anyone travelling without having paid for their journey may be guilty of fraud. The penalties for this crime include imprisonment. An inspector who catches a passenger red-handed using public transport without paying has the right to detain the passenger by making a citizen’s arrest (Chapter 24, Section 7, Subsection 2 of the Swedish Code of Procedure and Chapter 9, Section 2, Subsection 2 of the Swedish Criminal Code). Those carrying out a citizen’s arrest in accordance with the provisions above also have the right, to the extent that other means are inadequate and that it is justifiable under the circumstances, to use a certain level of force in order to make such an arrest. This may be the case if the passenger attempts to escape or if the person making the arrest otherwise meets with resistance (Section 29, Subsection 1, Sentence 3 of the Swedish Police Act, cf. Section 10, Subsection 1 of the same Act). An inspector therefore has the right, under certain circumstances, to detain a passenger who may be suspected of fraudulent behaviour.

Detaining a person is always a last resort and, like most of us in society, we want to avoid the need for a situation where someone has to be detained. We endeavour to make as few interventions as possible and we work to resolve situations such as these through dialogue and communication. The police are always informed whenever inspectors make a citizen’s arrest.

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