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Looser alcohol laws increase police workload, personnel costs

Police have seen a rise in disturbances reported between 5.00 and 6.00am since new alcohol laws took effect at the beginning of March.

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Image: Milla Takala / Lehtikuva

Police responded to over 12,000 more callouts between January and July than they did in previous years, according to the National Police Board.

The administrators are drawing a straight line between the increase in reported disturbances and new alcohol law reforms which took effect from 1 March this year.

One of the measures in the reform package allows bars and restaurants to continue serving alcoholic beverages until 4.00am, while customers can remain on the premises to enjoy their last rounds until 5.00am.

The police board said on Monday that the largest increase in calls occurred between 5.00 and 6.00pm, with a 65 percent increase in calls relating to assault compared to last year.

More resources for extra pay hours

Head of the police board Sanna Heikinheimo said that local police departments have already begun to adjust their operations to adapt to the changing situation.

"Police departments have had to re-allocate resources to late at night and the early hours of the morning, which increases costs and workloads," she commented.

She added that correspondingly, police have faced greater resistance while performing their duties.

"Violence towards police has risen by more than one fifth (21.4 percent) compared to last year," Heikinheimo noted.

Last year the daily Keskisuomalainen reported that the Interior Ministry planned to add 200 officers to the ranks of the police force in anticipation of more disorderly behaviour caused by the legal reform.

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