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Police step up youth supervision as school term ends

Police said on Tuesday that they will be keeping a keen eye out for underage drinking as school closes for the summer.

Koulujen päättymistä ja kesäloman alkamista juhlittiin Helsingissä rauhallisesti aurinkoisessa ja lämpimässä säässä.
Youth workers, volunteers and social workers will also be on hand to monitor end-of-school festivities. Image: Aku Häyrynen / Lehtikuva

Police said in a statement on Tuesday that they would be cooperating with youth- and social workers in a bid to curb under-age drinking and drug use as students gather to celebrate the end of the school year. They will also focus on adults procuring drugs and alcohol for minors as well as cases where young people are suspected of disruptive behaviour and vandalism.

Officers will be keeping an eye on areas where young people like to congregate, such as city centres, parks and marketplaces. They will also attempt to track locations where young people have agreed to gather on social media.

Police have intensified monitoring of young people’s activities at end-of-term festivities since 2010. Officials have filed between as many as 1,200 child welfare notifications and confiscated up to 2,500 litres of alcoholic beverages during the annual merrymaking.

However according to police sources, the number of alcohol-related offences and child welfare reports has declined in recent years.

Police: Parents, answer your phones

Meanwhile the National Police Board called on parents to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers during the weekend, since they might be coming from the police or youth workers, especially on Saturday.

In previous years, authorities have observed that many children and young people use the occasion to try alcohol for the first time. They noted that since it is not always possible to predict the effect it will have on first-time drinkers, booze consumption can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning.

"An inebriated child or teen also runs the risk of becoming a victim of crime, as well as suffering harm from narcotics," Police Board inspector Ari Järvenpää said in a statement on Tuesday.

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