Admission to the OSCE: 25 June 1973
Helsinki Final Act: The third and final stage of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), which took place in the Finnish capital from 30 July to 1 August 1975, concluded with the historic signing of the Helsinki Final Act.
Policing overview: The Finnish police operate under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior. There are five provincial police commands, three national police units, two police training institutions, and two other technical and IT units.
1. Functions and missions
The Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior acts as the Supreme Police Command of Finland. It manages and develops police activities, makes decisions on national strategies, lays down the pre-conditions for police activities, revises legislation within the competence of the police, and provides expertise in internal security matters. In addition, the Police Department attends to matters related to the private security sector, lotteries, money collection, amusement machines and firearms.
2. Structure and organization
The six units of the Police Department are: the Advisory Staff; Operational Policing Unit; International Affairs Unit; Planning and Budgeting Unit; and Administration Unit, which includes the Lottery and Firearms Administration Unit; and the Security Sector Supervision Unit. For an organization chart, please visit the Attachments section.
3. Staff data
In 2003, the Finnish police employed some 11,000 men and women, approximately 8,000 of them as police officers. Thus, there is one policeman per every 650 Finnish inhabitants. Other police personnel consist mainly of licensed service personnel working at local police stations. In 2004, women accounted for about 24% of the total police personnel and 11% of police officers.
Finnish Police Brochure [English] (1.01 Mb)
Finnish Police Brochure [English] (Format: PDF) http://polis-cp.osce.org/countries/view?item_id=18&attach_id=112
Official brochure published by the Ministry of Interior in 2005 presenting the Finnish Police.
Organization Chart [English] (30.93 Kb)
Organization Chart [English] (Format: ) http://polis-cp.osce.org/countries/view?item_id=18&attach_id=114
Organization chart of the Police in Finland
The Finnish Police comprises three National Units, which operate under the Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior, as follows:
1. National Bureau of Investigation
Its function is to prevent and investigate crimes and develop strategies against international, organized, professional, financial and other serious crimes. The NBI co-ordinates the collaborative work between the National Police, Customs and Border Guards and serves as the centre for international criminal police work in Finland.
The NBI provides specialist services for the entire Finnish police service, as well as for other law enforcement authorities. Its Crime Laboratory investigates samples from crime scenes and issues opinions for pre-trial investigations and court proceedings. The NBI’s Money Laundering Clearing House is responsible for the receipt and investigation of reports concerning money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
NBI personnel numbers approximately 670, about 40% of whom are women, whereas the figure for women in the overall Finnish police force is about 25%. The reason for this is the high number of female investigative specialists (ca. 60% in 2006).
2. National Traffic Police
The NTP's role is to maintain public order and security, carry out traffic control and surveillance, improve traffic safety, prevent crimes and investigate crimes and other events that endanger public order and security. It also acts as a police reserve, dealing with emergency duties and supporting the local police in maintaining public order and combating crime. Surveillance of heavy vehicles, off-road and water-borne traffic is also part of the unit’s special expertise, as is developing traffic surveillance equipment and methods, and improving the quality of surveillance.
The NTP has an Airport Unit, which is responsible for policing at Helsinki- Vantaa Airport, and a Security Unit to protect the President of the Republic of Finland. In addition, it has an important role in providing police driver training throughout the country, as well as security duties for State visits and major public events.
3. Security Police
The function of the Security Police is to prevent schemes and crimes that may endanger the established internal and external security of the State, and to investigate such crimes. They must also maintain and develop general readiness to prevent actions that may endanger State security.
The main duties of the Security Police are the fight against terrorism, the exposure and prevention of unlawful intelligence gathering in Finland by foreign powers, combating internal security threats, and dignitary protection. In addition, the Security Police play an important role in combating international organized crime.
The police departments of State Provincial Offices act as Provincial Police Commands, planning, directing and developing police operations within their respective provinces. In addition to agreeing on performance targets with the District Police under their command and identifying resources available to them, they are responsible for the management and supervision of local policing.
The Provincial Police Commands are also in charge of co-operation between the local police, the National Bureau of Investigation and the National Traffic Police within their provinces, deciding which duties are to be handled jointly and what the command structure should be in such cases.
There are 90 district police departments in Finland with some 280 service points. Not all district police departments are open round the clock, but alarm services are always available from the 15 regional emergency response centres maintained by the State.
The function of each district police department is to maintain public order, prevent and investigate crime and other events that threaten public order and safety, carry out traffic control and surveillance, promote traffic safety, and perform all other duties prescribed by law or otherwise assigned to the police.
The Helsinki Police Department is different from other local police units in that it operates directly under the Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior. In addition to normal local police duties, it is also responsible for certain nationwide special duties.
As of 2006, there were two police training institutions in Finland: the National Police School in Tampere and the Police College in Espoo in the capital area. In 2007-2008, the Police College will be moved to Tampere and be merged with the Police School so that in future there will only be one police training institution in Finland,
responsible not only for the police recruitment process, but also for the selection of students for training, the content of the training qualification programmes, leadership and in-service training, and research activities.
The annual intake for the basic training (i.e. Diploma in Police Studies) is approximately 400 students. This diploma takes 2.5 years to complete, with part of it done within local police departments or other police units. Students are paid a daily allowance for the first year of study and receive a salary for the remaining period.
The Police Sergeant’s Examination and the Senior Police Officer’s Degree are both taken in part alongside normal police work. Both qualifications take 2–3 years to complete. Following the Senior Police Officer’s Degree, studies can be continued at university level: police-related Master’s degree studies are offered by the University of Tampere and the University of Turku. Apart from obtaining a Master’s degree, police officers can also continue their studies right up to doctoral level.
Last Updated: 21 November 2006