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No civvies for conscripts on holiday leave – safety concerns raised

Both the Finnish Conscripts' Union and the Defence Command say conscripts moving around publicly in military slacks should be considered a safety hazard.

Varusmiehen kädet.
Soldiers-in-training must wear their military uniforms when on leave, despite the practice being a safety hazard. Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

The Defence Command has denied a call from the Finnish Conscripts' Union for conscripts to be allowed to wear civilian clothes when travelling to and from military bases.

Earlier in the autumn the Defence Command, the central government agency that commands the Defence Forces, warned conscripts to exercise caution while wearing their uniform on leave in public. Conscripts were also discouraged from moving about unaccompanied while in army gear.

The Conscripts' Union adds that conscripts commonly receive unwanted critical taunts and ridicule over their mandated garb.

Hannu Maijanen from the central command says it would take a serious threat to a conscript's safety for the rule on clothing to be overturned.

Regional paper Keskisuomalainen was the first to report on the decision.

Edit: Clarified article to reflect that conscripts must wear their Defence Forces uniform while travelling to and from their training at military bases, instead of at all times while on leave as erroneously implied.

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