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Daily: Interior Ministry to boost police force as new alcohol laws take effect

Officials at the Ministry of the Interior are considering adding nearly 200 officers to the police force because of freer alcohol laws, writes the daily Keskisuomalainen.

Poliisi menossa autoonsa
Image: Eveliina Matikainen / Yle

After 1 January, consumers will be able to buy stronger alcoholic beverages with up to 5.5 percent alcohol content at supermarkets and convenience stores.

In addition, the state alcohol monopoly retailer Alko will keep its doors open one hour longer until 9.00pm and craft breweries will be able to sell directly to consumers as long as products have less than 12 percent alcohol content.

The alcohol selection in stores and supermarkets will also expand with the addition of alcopop drinks and restaurants and bars will be able to serve hard liquor until 4.00 am, simply by filing an announcement.

Officials at the Interior Ministry are already planning to increase the size of the police force by adding some 170 officers to deal with the anticipated fallout from the looser regulations.

Ministry: More alcohol, more disorder

The ministry has speculated that the readier availability of alcohol is likely to increase consumption, with consumers opting to drink more at home and in the streets.

Interior Minister Paula Risikko told the regional daily Keskisuomalainen that the impact of the alcohol law reforms and other changes in the security situation will also be reflected in additional training for officers already on the job.

The ministry noted that the expansion of hours for serving alcohol at restaurants is also likely to result in additional cases of public order and misdemeanours and assaults in city centres, especially in the early mornings and on weekends.

The ministry added that even an increase in public order disturbances of just a few percentage points could require 10 to 15 million euros in additional resources to maintain public order and security.

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