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Friday's papers: Police units to carry submachine guns, Turku attacker's video found, former minister on Helsinki police scandal

Finland's press featured stories about: a plan to equip police patrol units with MP5 submachine guns, investigators say they found a video filmed by the main suspect in the Turku attacks; and the former interior minister talks about when she made the decision to ask the prosecutor's office to investigate misconduct at the Helsinki police department in 2013.

LKS 20170901 Poliisi partioi konepistooli esillä Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla Vantaalla 13. huhtikuuta 2017
Image: LEHTIKUVA / JUSSI NUKARI

Finnish police say they plan to equip all police patrol units with submachine guns, according to Turun Sanomat and many other papers on Friday.

Heckler & Koch MP5s will be in addition to the Glock and Walther handguns which officers currently carry.

The Police Board's Ari Alanen said that the move does not mean that the police wants to send out a militaristic impression, but rather be seen as a reliable agency that can be easily approached by the public.

He said the MP5s would be permitted to be used in situations where use of their sidearms have been allowed before, for example, in cases when a target is more distant.

Alanen emphasised that arming the police with the submachine guns is not meant to send a message of intimidation.

He said that the threat of terrorism means that police need to be better prepared.

"We must follow what's going on in our surroundings. Increasingly, we need to consider the weapons and kinds of protective equipment that are needed," Alanen told STT.

Police: Turku attack suspect also made video

Abderrahman Bouanane, the man who police arrested and charged with killing two and injuring eight people with terrorist intent in Turku two weeks ago also made a video in addition to a manifesto, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

Police have not released many details about either of the pieces of new evidence, but say that they are looking into whether the video was shared on social media. Police told the paper that they believe Bouanane  likely filmed the video himself, but did not say when or where the footage was filmed.

Helsingin Sanomat writes that the discovery of the video was significant because similar videos have been made by terrorists who carried out attacks in other parts of Europe. Such videos often contain information about the motives behind attacks.

MP talks police scandal she helped uncover

On Friday, Salon Seudun Sanomat - among many other papers - covered STT's wire story on MP Päivi Räsänen's recollections about the time she notified the Prosecutor General's office concerning her suspicions about misconduct by leadership at the Helsinki police department's drug squad in 2013.

The former head of the drug squad, Jari Aarnio was convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for a raft of drug-related and official misconduct offences in December of last year.

But it was her intervention in 2013 which sparked further investigation, culminating into a major probe of upper-level practices at the department.

Earlier this week the prosecutor general's office said that it suspected several top cops including former National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero, Helsinki's current police chief Lasse Aapio, and former Helsinki police commander Jukka Riikonen of mismanagement of a register of informants.

Aarnio had systematically removed names from the register over several years, before he was eventually convicted of several narcotics offences.

The prosecutor's office said that it has prepared some 6,000 pages of documents related to the probe.

Räsänen, also the former chair of the Christian Democrats, said that she takes the allegations of the police leaders very seriously, calling them "shocking." The MP also wrote about the situation in her blog on Thursday.

"The picture [became clearer] that the Helsinki drug squad had created its own rules of play, a wild west operation, which in the worst case allowed drug officers themselves to commit drug-related crimes," Räsänen wrote, according to STT.

"The issue could not be examined internally by the police - it required an external investigation," she wrote.

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