The number of firearms seized by police from motorcycle gangs classed as criminal groups has risen sharply over the past few years. A decade ago, police on average confiscated only a few dozen guns annually from motorcycle gangs. Since 2010, more than 400 have been seized, nearly 250 of which are handguns.
"The weapons seized include pistols, revolvers, a few shotguns and ten sub-machine guns. Ammunition has also been confiscated. Some of the guns had been made unserviceable, but then put back into working condition. Some of the guns are stolen. Some have has their serial numbers removed, making it very difficult to trace where they came from," explains Detective Inspector Tapio Kalliokoski of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The guns have been seized from members of four main groups, the Hells Angels, the United Brotherhood, the Cannonballs and the Bandidos, and their associated clubs, totalling 60 different gangs.
The NBI has been taking the acquisition of growing number of arms by the gangs very seriously.
"It looks like these individuals and the gangs have more and more guns. What is especially worrying is that increasingly numbers of weapons are being found in all the clubs classed as criminal gangs by the police. The conclusion being drawn is that preparations are underway for some kind of conflict. Unrest has been evident for some time. So far, there have not been any serious clashes between motorcycle gangs in opposing camps, as there have been in other Nordic countries," says Kalliokoski.