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Government advances plan to move Supo to Interior Ministry

The government is moving forward with a proposal to transfer the operations of the Finnish security intelligence service Supo from the National Police Board to the Interior Ministry. The Ministry believes that the move would ensure better readiness for potential security threats and would also bring Finland in line with its Nordic and European neighbours.

Kuva kyltistä Suojelupoliisin ovessa Helsingin Kruununhaassa.
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The government’s draft legislation to transfer the operations of the security and intelligence police Supo has been sent to the Parliament. Supo is currently a police unit and is therefore governed by the National Police Board. If MPs support the proposal, Supo will become a unit of the Interior Ministry from January 2016.

The Interior Ministry says the administrative transfer would ensure that Supo is able to more efficiently discharge its special missions. It would also strengthen the unit’s strategic and political direction and clarify its official position both at home and abroad, ministry officials added.

According to the proposed bill Supo would continue to be a police unit and its powers would not be affected. Supo itself has in the past indicated that it supports the proposal to be placed under the wing of the Interior Ministry.

Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen said that the move is essential because of the rapidly changing and internationalising environment in which Supo operates. She pointed out that the boundaries between internal and external security are no longer as clear, since terrorist groups and their supporters operating abroad have more contacts with individuals inside Finland.

“The change is consistent with the Nordic model as well as with general developments in Europe. Sweden will adopt a similar model at the beginning of the year and in other Nordic countries official organisations similar to our security police already answer directly to the interior ministry,” the minister said in a statement Tuesday.

The move to place police security and intelligence operations under the direct command of the interior ministry was spurred by a report handed over to Räsänen at the end of September. According to ministry officials recent global conflicts have also highlighted Supo’s role as a provider of situation reports to other security officials and government leaders.

Supo describes its core roles as counter-terrorism, counter-espionage and security work to prevent ventures and criminal activity that could threaten political and social stability as well as national security.

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