Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Karin Irene Värmefjord Brändström


Pioneering female commissioner of police

Karin Värmefjord Brändström was Sweden’s first Chief of Police.

Karin Värmefjord Brändström was born in 1944 in Hållnäs in Uppsala county. She was the daughter of Karl Värmefjord, a pastor in the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden, and his wife Maria, née Larsson. The three other children in the family were Lars-Olov, Siv and Maria. Her husband Martin Brändström was an engineer. They had no children together.

As a consequence of the father’s profession, the family moved around often and lived thus in many different places in Sweden. Karin Värmefjord Brändström attended compulsory school in among other places Molkom and Kalmar. During the 1950s and 1960s, when the family was living in Borlänge, she studied at the business high school in Falun, matriculating there in 1963. After her high school years, she worked as a secretary for a few years and then continued her studies in the law school at Stockholm University. There she took her law degree in 1971, but did her notary practice in Sunne. After that, Karin Värmefjord Brändström was accepted in 1972 on the Chief of Police course at the Police College in Solna. When she had completed her course, Karin Värmefjord Brändström served first as a police secretary before being appointed in 1978 as a local chief of police in Karlskoga. A couple of years later, she took another step forward in her career when in 1981 she was promoted to Chief of Police in Ludvika. She had already been stand-in chief of police in 1979 in Karlskoga, as mentioned in the major daily national newspaper Dagens Nyheter. The same newspaper also mentioned her appointment by the government as Sweden’s first woman Chief of Police in Ludvika in June 1981.

A year later, Dagens Nyheter reported an anecdote from a PR stunt that Karin Värmefjord Brändström and the others at the police station had organised in connection with its being opened to the public in 1988. On that occasion, a young male visitor was handcuffed, but the key disappeared and his handcuffs had to be cut open with a bolt cutter.

During her time as Chief of Police, Karin Värmefjord Brändström was entrusted with various investigative assignments, by among others the Swedish National Police Board. As the first woman Chief of Police, she was also a member of the profession’s national association: Polismästarnas riksförbund. In her leisure time, she was engaged in the newly started association Zonta International in Ludvika.

Karin Värmefjord Brändström died in Ludvika 1989 at only 44 years of age. She lies buried in Arvika Cemetery.

Cecilia Jonsson
(Translated by Margaret Myers)

Published 2020-11-19

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Karin Irene Värmefjord Brändström,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Cecilia Jonsson), retrieved 2024-04-15.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Värmefjord
    Alternate name: Brännström

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Married
  • Mother: Maria Linnéa Värmefjord, född Larsson
  • Father: Karl Egon Valdemar Värmefjord
  • Sister: Siv Marianne Värmefjord, gift Varmå, omgift Fridén
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  • Läroverk, Falun: Studentexamen, Falu Handelsgymnasium
  • Universitet, Stockholm: Jur.kand.examen, Stockholms universitet
  • Yrkesutbildning, Sunne: Notariemeritering
  • Högskola, Solna: Polischefsutbildning, Polishögskolan


  • Profession: Polissekreterare
  • Profession: Polisintendent
  • Profession: Polismästare


  • Zonta International
  • Polismästarnas riksförbund


  • Birthplace: Tierp
  • Tierp
  • Borlänge
more ...


  • Dagens Nyheter, 1979-01-05, 1981-06-19, 1988-05-15

Further References