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Third police officer sacked over far-right WhatsApp group

Several officers have been fired after the discovery of a group united by shared extremist ideology.

Poliisi kirjoittaa sakkoa
The officer was found to have accessed databases without good reason and sent the information on. Image: Timo Nykyri / Yle

A third police officer has been fired over his links with members of a far-right group.

The constable, who was employed by eastern Uusimaa police department, was found to have leaked confidential information to outsiders, and sent telescopic sights to war zones in Ukraine.

The offence came to light when police investigated the WhatsApp group, whose members work in the security industry and shared a common extremist, far-right ideology.

The police officer was asked by a member of the group for information about an individual's criminal record, and supplied that information from a confidential database.

The officer and the individual exchanged more than 200 messages between 2017 and 2020.

Investigators said the evidence was not there to prove the sacked officer's connections to far-right networks, but that his behaviour was not compatible with serving as a police officer.

The prosecutor has already decided not to bring charges against police in the case, but Eastern Uusimaa police department Police Chief Ilkka Koskimäki said he hoped they would reconsider that decision.

He said it was not consistent with the prosecutor's previous line on data usage.

The sacked officer also gave an old telescopic sight to a Finnish man who was travelling to Ukraine to fight in the country's conflict.

This followed discussion in the WhatsApp group about the far-right Azov battalion, which is composed of volunteers and fights alongside the Ukrainian army.

Previously two other police officers have been fired after they were found to be part of the group.

Investigators had found the officers sent messages in a WhatsApp group inciting a race war targeting Roma people, Somalis and Muslims.

The messages were sent in 2018, and investigators suspect crimes were committed by five police officers, one guard at a police station, and seven other individuals.

The police officers work or worked at Helsinki, Eastern Uusimaa and Central Finland police departments.

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