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Border Guard swamped with unnecessary calls after asking citizens for surveillance help

The request was only intended for sightings of suspicious persons near the country's border, according to Jussi Kämppi of the Southeast Finland Border Guard.

Archive photo from 2020 taken near the Nuijamaa border crossing in Finland. Image: Kalle Purhonen / Yle

The Southeast Finland Border Guard issued a press release on Tuesday asking people in the region to report sightings of any unknown persons by calling the Border Guard's command centre.

The request was only meant to ask locals to notify authorities if they suspected people of unlawfully moving around the country's border area, Jussi Kämppi of the Southeast Finland Border Guard told Yle.

Kämppi also said the notice was originally meant to be exclusively posted in a local newspaper in Vainikkala, and located near an eastern border crossing point.

The notice, however, quickly circulated on local Facebook groups and other social media among people in Imatra and Lappeenranta.

"The original intention was to report people moving near the land border in the Vainikkala area who might be in the country without permission. But this has now led to unnecessary phone calls if, for example, an unknown person in a leather jacket who appears to be Russian is seen in the town of Imatra," Kämppi said.

No change in security situation

Field commander Kämppi said that while unnecessary calls to the Border Guard's command centre and the national emergency number had not been a problem, the spread of misinformation was worrying.

The border official said he was concerned about whether people were feeling an excessive sense of insecurity due to the Border Guard's suspicion of possibly increased numbers of unauthorised crossings.

He added that there has been no change in Finland's overall security situation.

Therefore, the Southeast Finland Border Guard should only be contacted if sightings of any unknown persons are observed near the border.

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