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Finnish police fired guns only six times in 2013

Chief Inspector Jukka Salminen says that the Finnish Police use guns very infrequently on a comparative scale. Last year in Finland, the police fired their weapons in an official capacity a total of six times.

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Image: YLE/ Marjukka Talvitie

Finnish Police fired their guns on duty only six times in 2013, reports the Finnish news agency STT.

“The Finnish Police respond to slightly more than one million different kinds of emergency situations per year, so in light of this fact, it is very rare that we resort to using firearms,” says Jukka Salomaa, an instructor in the use of force and strategies of engagement at Finland’s Police University College.

The UK magazine The Economist reported in August that British police officers fired their weapons three times in total in 2013. In 2012 the figure was just one.

The high-profile shooting case of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed African-American, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has generated headlines around the world that show civilians in the US are far more likely to be killed by police than in the rest of the world. According to data compiled by the FBI, 410 Americans were killed by police in 2012, 409 with guns.

Some attribute US statistics to America’s overwhelming gun ownership rates. 2014 figures from the controversial Small Arms Survey show 90 out of 100 US residents own guns.

In Finland, the corresponding number is more than fifty percent less, at just over 45 out of 100, but this number is still huge when compared to England and Wales, where only slightly more than six out of 100 residents own guns, according to the survey.

Salomaa points out that in Finland, police statistics on using firearms also include cases in which the police used weapons as a warning or threat. He says the incidence of cases like this is also very low in Finland.

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