Swedish Security Service

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Swedish Security Service
Säkerhetspolisen (Säpo)
Säkerhetspolisen vapen.svg
Coat of arms of Säpo
Agency overview
Formed October 1, 1989 (1989-10-01)
Preceding Agency
  • National Police Board's Department of Security
Headquarters Bolstomtavägen 2, Solna, Sweden
59°21′09.5″N 18°00′38.3″E / 59.352639°N 18.010639°E / 59.352639; 18.010639
Employees Approximately 1,100 (2014)[1]
Annual budget SEK 1,142,065,000 (2015)[2]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent agency Ministry of Justice
Website www.sakerhetspolisen.se

The Swedish Security Service (Swedish: Säkerhetspolisen, abbreviated Säpo) is a Swedish government agency organised under the Ministry of Justice. Areas of responsibility include protection of the constitution, close protection, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism. 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 organizations, foreign intelligence and security services, and with the use of intelligence gathering, including interrogations, telephone tapping, covert listening devices and surveillance.[1][3][4][5]

The Service was — in its present form — founded in 1989, as part of the Swedish National Police Board and became an autonomous police agency January 1, 2015.[6][7][8] National headquarters are located at Ingenting in Solna since 2014, drawing together personnel from five different locations into a single HQ facility.[9][10]

Areas of responsibility[edit]

Säpo close protection officers surrounding the Minister for Finance in 2014.

The Swedish Security Service's main tasks and responsibilities are:[11]

  • 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.[4][12]
  • 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 organizations in Sweden.[4][12]
  • National security – this includes providing advice, analysis and oversight to companies and government agencies of importance to national security, in addition to records– and background checks.[4][12]
  • Protection of the constitution – 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.[4][12]
  • Protective security – 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.[1][4][12][13]

In 2014, close protection expenditures accounted for 44% of the spending, while 30% went to counter-terrorism, 12% to counter-espionage and 10% to counter-subversion.[1]

Organizational structure[edit]

The Swedish Security Service became a separate agency January 1, 2015, and is directly organised under the Ministry of Justice. 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.[14][15]

Department for Central Support Functions
Provides all support processes needed for day-to-day operations.[15]
Department of Intelligence Collection
In charge of intelligence gathering through the use of secret surveillance, informants or other interpersonal contacts, and by use of information technology (e.g. signals intelligence). Included in the department are the regional units, which primarily conduct human intelligence (HUMINT) operations and offer local knowledge and support to HQ.[15]
Department of Security Intelligence
Responsible for security intelligence work, primarily aimed at providing the Service with data for decisions regarding security measures.[15]
Department of Security Measures
Deals with threat mitigation and risk reduction measures. Areas of responsibility include close protection, investigations, information security, physical security and background checks.[15]
Secretariat for Management Support
Tasked with providing support to management.[15]


The Service has a nationwide remit that calls for a regional presence and therefore operates from several locations; from its headquarters in Solna and from six regional units with offices in Umeå, Uppsala, Örebro, Norrköping, Gothenburg and Malmö. The Service has approximately 1,100 employees, of which about 10 percent are stationed at the regional offices. The regional units are based on the geographic boundaries of several counties:[1][16]

SWE-Map Säkerhetspolisen.svg

   Central – Uppsala, Västmanland and Gävleborg
   Bergslagen – Värmland, Örebro and Dalarna
   West – Halland and Västra Götaland
   South – Kronoberg, Kalmar, Blekinge and Skåne
   Stockholm – Stockholm and Gotland

Head of the Swedish Security Service[edit]

List of current and past executive officers:[7]

In popular culture[edit]

The Security Service's role in Cold War counterintelligence is referred to in the second and third novels of the best-selling "Millennium series" by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Based on an organizational chart published by Säpo in 2015


  1. ^ a b c d e Säpo. Säkerhetspolisens årsbok 2014 (PDF) (in Swedish). Edita Bobergs. ISBN 978-91-86661-10-6. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Regleringsbrev 2015 Myndighet Säkerhetspolisen" (in Swedish). ESV. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  3. ^ SFS 2014:1103 "Förordning med instruktion för Säkerhetspolisen"
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Om Säkerhetspolisen" (in Swedish). Säpo. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  5. ^ SOU 2012:44 "Hemliga tvångsmedel mot allvarliga brott", p. 114, 118-123.
  6. ^ "History – from military police bureau to government agency". Säpo. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Säpo. "1914-2014 - 100 år med svensk säkerhetstjänst" (PDF) (in Swedish). Edita Bobergs. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Riksdagsskrivelse 2013/14:97 (Betänkande 2013/14:JuU1 p. 5)
  9. ^ Törnmalm, Kristoffer (2010-07-02). "Nu flyttar Säpo – till Ingenting" (in Swedish). Aftonbladet. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Säpo hittade hem till Ingenting" (in Swedish). Skanska. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  11. ^ 3 § SFS 1984:387 "Polislagen"
  12. ^ a b c d e "Säkerhetspolisen". Nationalencyklopedin (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  13. ^ § 4 SFS 2014:1103 "Förordning med instruktion för Säkerhetspolisen"
  14. ^ "Organisation". Säpo. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Organisation" (in Swedish). Säpo. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Regional Units". Säpo. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 

External links[edit]