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Thinning police resources continue to pose risk, says commissioner

National police commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen spoke at a cadet graduation, saying police services have weakened.

Seppo Kolehmainen
National police commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen spoke on a crisis in law enforcement on Friday. Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP
Yle News

National police commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen says Finland's police services have become weaker and less reliable in recent times. He spoke at a police officers' graduation ceremony in Tampere on Friday.

Kolehmainen added to this year's bleak police news, reiterating that police officers are extremely dedicated to their work, but that a risk of fatigue or burnout is always present. Citizens themselves may also lose trust in law enforcement, he said, despite the government proposing 2.5 million extra euros to fund pre-emptive detective work in the suburbs.

"People expect our services to be easily accessible, and they want crimes to be prevented and solved effectively. Statistically speaking our ability to do these things has gotten worse."

Police have continued to place people's life and safety first, Kolehmainen said, but that even in life-saving operations the cops are stretched extremely thin.

In critical operations police nationwide average a 10-minute response time. However, Kolehmainen said there are more than 130 municipalities in Finland where help did not arrive until after half an hour from the emergency call in the first half of 2018.

"The wait can be over an hour in more remote areas," Kolehmainen said.

Finland's police force has shrunk by more than 600 officers in ten years. The National Police Board announces similarly sized staffing cuts in 2020-2024. Meanwhile other Nordic countries continue to increase their police forces, Kolehmainen said.

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