In January 2021, a new law on refusal of access to retail stores passed in the Swedish parliament and entered into force in March 2021. The law includes the following provisions:

● A person over the age of 15 may be banned from accessing a shop if there is a risk that they will commit a crime or harass someone in the shop.

● The access ban is valid for a specific period of time, up to a maximum of one year. It can be extended by one year at a time.

● Upon written request by the shop or police, the person deemed to require an access ban may come up for trial by the public prosecutor and must be dealt with promptly.

● Anyone affected by an access ban can request that it be reviewed by the district court.

● Anyone who violates an access ban can be fined or imprisoned for up to six months.

The full text of the law is available here.

Commerce unions and employers both welcomed this law. “We want our members in shops to be protected from people who harass and threaten them,” said Krister Colde, Health and Safety Representative of Handels Union of Sweden. And Karin Johansson, CEO of the Swedish Trade Federation, agreed, “The access ban is eagerly awaited by our members around the country.”

After the first year in which the law was implemented, the Swedish Trade Federation released a report saying that:

● Upon written requests, 510 decisions were taken by prosecutors, and of those, only just over a third, or 181, resulted in the person being refused access.

● It takes a shop 13 days on average to ban a customer.

● In 75 per cent of the cases, the access ban resulted in the person banned not returning to the shop.

The report demonstrated that the law was working and producing the expected results. Per Geijer, Head of Security at the Swedish Trade Federation, suggested:

We can conclude that the act on refusal of access actually works to remove people who repeatedly create insecurity in retail environments. Our biggest problem today is that too many applications are rejected on dubious grounds, or, in the worst case, on no grounds at all.

Noting that many shop owners don’t know how to report the incidents or find it too complicated, Krister Colde, Central Ombudsman of Handels, said the employers’ organizations should inform retailers better, and Handels should inform the safety representatives of the union so they can put pressure on employers to report.