An officer dismissed from the Southeastern Finland Police Department has appealed to an administrative court to overturn his dismissal.
The police inspector was fired from his post in March. He had been working in the surveillance and alert sector in Kouvola.
The department cited a lack of trust in him due to his far-right views.
The dismissed employee questioned the grounds for dismissal. He blamed the firing on messages that were sent privately.
"A way of relieving stress"
He did not dispute the content of the messages, saying that they were quoted correctly. However, the ex-cop argued that they had been taken out of context in such a way that they do not reflect his opinions or perceptions.
The man claimed that he sent the messages to a colleague as a way of relieving stress.
He further asserted that these were private messages, not intended for the public and covered by constitutional protection.
The messages came to the attention of the police department while investigating another officer who was suspected of a crime.
In his complaint, the policeman insisted that he had performed his duties properly.
In his view, the dismissal procedure was disproportionate. He said that the messages would have warranted at most a written warning.
Uncovered during broader investigation
The messages came to light as part of a broader investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation and the National Prosecution Authority into activities involving police on the far right.
However, the policeman in question was not the subject of the preliminary investigation and is not suspected of a crime.
Ari Karvonen, chief of the Southeastern Finland Police Department, told Yle that the police have a particular duty to behave themselves.
"This is because the police exercise significant power in Finnish society. The duty to behave also extends to when they are off-duty," he said.
"The key issue in decision-making is to assess whether the police, as an employer, can be confident that the issues that have arisen will not affect [an employee's] official duties and the decision-making that they require," Karvonen said.
In his complaint to the administrative court, the dismissed police officer says that his messages did not correspond to his actions in the performance of his duties or his attitude towards his colleagues or the public.
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