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Police Federation: Force reductions threaten internal security

The Finnish Police Federation says that budget cuts and fewer human resources are eating away at the nation's internal security. Police departments have plans to make large cutbacks over the next few years.

Poliisi seisoo tiellä valvontatehtävissä.
Image: Ville Välimäki / Yle

The Ministry of the Interior is looking to layoffs and dismissals in order to achieve the savings demanded by the government's latest budget framework agreement. Meeting its target will require eliminating the equivalent of 600 work-years of employment in sectors administrated by the Interior Ministry, mostly in police forces. If implemented, the plan will mean the loss of several hundred police officers over the next 3-4 years.

According to the Police Federation, this will lead to a lower level of services in many jurisdictions including major growth centres

"We cannot accept this. The amount of savings being sought at the cost of security is unprecedented," says Police Federation Chairman Yrjö Suhonen.

For example, already before the year is out, Helsinki's police force will be dismissing 60-70 of its officers. Most of them are currently on fixed-term contracts. The department will not be hiring new officers to replace those who retire.

According to Suhonen, the cutbacks will also undermine the equality of citizens in the criminal investigation process. The ability of police officers to do their jobs will come under further strain, he adds, saying that there are concerns that public trust in the police will suffer from delays in getting police assistance when needed.

Over the past five years, the structure of police services in Finland has undergone three rounds of reorganization.

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