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Swedish Security Service (Säkerhetspolisen)

NordenBladet – The Swedish Security Service (Swedish: Säkerhetspolisen, abbreviated Säpo, until 1989 Rikspolisstyrelsens säkerhetsavdelning abbreviated RPS/Säk) is a Swedish government agency organised under the Ministry of Justice. It operates like a security agency responsible for counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, the protection of dignitaries and the constitution.

The Swedish Security Service is also tasked with investigating crimes against national security and terrorist crimes. Its main mission, however, is to prevent crime, and not to investigate them. Crime prevention is to a large extent based on information acquired via contacts with the regular police force, other authorities and organisations, foreign intelligence and security services, and with the use of various intelligence gathering activities, including interrogations, telephone tapping, covert listening devices and hidden surveillance cameras. The Service was, in its present form, founded in 1989, as part of the National Police Board and became an autonomous police agency January 1, 2015. National headquarters are located at Bolstomtavägen in south-east Solna since 2014, drawing together personnel from five different locations into a single 30,000 m2 (320,000 sq ft) HQ facility.

Areas of responsibility
The Swedish Security Service’s main tasks and responsibilities are:

Counter-espionage – preventing and detecting espionage and other unlawful intelligence activities; targeting Sweden, its national interests abroad, and also foreign interests and refugees within the borders of Sweden.
Counter-subversion – to counter illegal subversive activities (e.g. violence, threats and harassment targeting elected representatives, public officials and journalists) intended to affect policy-making and implementation, or prevent citizens from exercising their constitutional rights and freedoms.
Counter-terrorism – preventing and detecting terrorism; this includes acts of terrorism directed against Sweden or foreign interests within the borders of Sweden, as well as terrorism in other countries and the financing and support of terrorist organisations in Sweden.
Dignitary protection – providing security and close protection officers at state visits, to senior public officials (e.g. the Speaker of the Riksdag, Prime Minister, members of the Riksdag and the Government, including State Secretaries and the Cabinet Secretary), the Royal Family, foreign diplomatic representatives, etc. As of 2014, the Service had 130 close protection officers.
Protective security – providing advice, analysis and oversight to companies and government agencies of importance to national security, in addition to background checks.

Organisation
The Swedish Security Service became a separate agency January 1, 2015, and is directly organised under the Ministry of Justice. Similar to other government agencies in Sweden, it is essentially autonomous. Under the 1974 Instrument of Government, neither the Government nor individual ministers have the right to influence how an agency decide in a particular case or on the application of legislation. This also applies to the Security Service, which instead is governed by general policy instruments. What sets the Security Service apart from other agencies is that most directives guiding the Service are classified on the grounds of national security, along with the bulk of the reports it produces. The Service is led by a Director-General, Anders Thornberg, who is titled Head of the Swedish Security Service. Operations are led by a Chief Operating Officer, reporting directly the Head of the Security Service. He is in turn assisted by a Deputy Chief Operating Officer and an Office for Operations. The Service is organised into four departments and a secretariat, each led by a Head of Department.

Official website: sakerhetspolisen.se



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