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Do Finnish Police Carry Guns

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Personal Protection And Self

Shooter stops police seizing his guns

In the 1980s and 1990s roughly 7% of firearm licenses were granted for the purpose of personal protection. Since 1998 new licences have not been granted on that basis, although existing permits remain valid. It is still possible to obtain a licence for pepper spray for the purpose of self-defense if a concrete threat exists. Carrying a firearm licensed for hunting or sporting use outside of that specific activity is not allowed. One can nevertheless legally defend himself by any means available, including firearms. Any use of force must always be proportional to the threat.

Firearms Belonging To The Defence Forces

If it is not clear who owns a firearm, there are some general principles which the police will follow. The main rule is that movable property is considered to be the property of the person in possession of it, unless it appears otherwise. The police will check in their registers whether the firearm or other surrendered object has been reported to have been stolen or lost or whether someone has a permit for it.

If the object contains the Finnish Defence Forces sales mark , the firearm has been legally removed from the possession of the Defence Forces. The firearm is then handed over to the owner in accordance with the general principles.

If it is clear that the firearm belongs to the Defence Forces, the procedure is as follows.

What Type Of Training Do Police Get

US police academies spend far more time on firearms training than on de-escalating a situation – 71 hours against 21, on average, according to a 2013 US Bureau of Justice Statistics report.

And in the US, the escalation of force is at the discretion of the officer, whereas in countries such as Norway and Finland, there are more rigorous rules as to what is considered justified use of force.

Prof Haberfeld says: “Most of the training in the US is focused on various types of use of force, primarily the various types of physical force. The communication skills are largely ignored by most police academies.

“This is why you see officers very rapidly escalating from initial communication to the actual physical use of force, because this is how they train.”

ICJTR executive director Randy Shrewsberry says more emphasis also needs to be put on mental-health training – both for when officers are responding to suspects and for officers themselves.

“Police officers are up to five times more likely to kill themselves than to be killed by homicide,” he said. “We’d like to see a greater emphasis on police officer mental-health training. Currently, they only get a few hours of training – if any – on self-care.”

The US spends almost 1% of its GDP on policing – and some activists are calling for this to be cut and directed to other services.

But Mr Shrewsberry says: “Unfortunately, when we look at defunding or budget cutbacks, training divisions are often the earliest to be hit.”

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What Training Do Police Undergo

The duration and type of training varies widely worldwide. Recruits in the United States spend significantly less time in police academies than those in most European countries. Basic U.S. training programs take twenty-one weeks on average, whereas similar European programs can last more than three years . In Finland and Norway, recruits study policing in national colleges, spending part of the time in an internship with local police, and earn degrees in criminal justice or related fields.

With hundreds of police academies, the United States lacks national standards for what recruits should learn. U.S. academies tend to emphasize technical skills rather than communication and restraint. According to a 2013 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report , academies on average spent the most timeseventy-one hourson firearm skills, compared with twenty-one hours on de-escalation training and crisis-intervention strategies. In Germany, firearms training focuses on how to avoid using force. Japanese officers are trained to use martial arts.

Good Training And Strict Instructions


Rikander says Finland’s police use their firearms so rarely because they have been given very good training and strict instructions as when this kind of extreme use of force is necessary.

Laws on police work in Finland states that a firearm can only be used if an immediate danger to human life or health presents itself, the perpetrator must be stopped, and a less extreme measure is not possible.

“A police decision to unholster a firearm is based on the background information available and an appraisal of the situation as it appears,” Rikander says. “If we take the stabbings in Turku as an example, the unit on duty received a radio dispatch that someone was attacking people with a knife. A situation like this directly communicates to the police that they must be prepared to use their firearms”.

Rikander says that individual officers in Finland are given a good deal of autonomy in their decisions to use force in the line of duty. If it is possible, the senior officer on duty should decide on whether the use of firearms is necessary.

“Very often the situations develop very rapidly, despite the best preparations. If possible, the chain of events should follow traditional procedure: first, the officers must issue a command, then a warning about the use of a firearm, and finally, the use of the firearm, if necessary. On some occasions, the firearm must be fired directly,” he says.

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  • Police In Finland Shoot Their Firearms In The Line Of Duty About Ten Times Each Year

    Finnish Police use force in about 1,000 responses each year, and about 80 of these incidents involve police use of a gun. It is very rare for officers in Finland to shoot a firearm in the line of duty.

    Statistics from the Finnish Police reveal that officers shoot their firearms in the line of duty very rarely. Police killed a man after a high-speed chase and shoot-out in Lempäälä on Saturday, bringing the infrequency of such firearm use by the Finnish authorities into the limelight once again.

    Saturday’s death brought the number of people killed by a police bullet in Finland since 2000 up to seven.

    Henri Rikander, Chief Inspector at Finland’s Police University College, has studied firearm use in Finland’s police force. He says Finnish law enforcement tends to use guns less than its Nordic neighbours, and firearm use among the Nordic countries’ police is much lower than in the rest of Europe, for example.

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    Articlefinland: New Gun Law Proposed

    Finland’s Parliament is drafting a new gun law, scheduled for debate in September 2009, which would authorize police to inspect, without having established suspicion of commission of a crime, the private homes of persons holding gun permits. Even though the unscheduled searches would be allowed, the police would have to give the permit-holder two weeks’ advance notice of the intended action, according to SUNNUNTAISUOMALAINEN, the Sunday edition of a syndicated newspaper.

    In addition, issuance of handgun permits would be restricted to members of target shooting clubs. Permit applicants would have to be at least 20 years old and have proof of a two-year minimum of supervised target practice at a club. According to Arms Historic Society of Finland Chairman Jari Mäkinen, however, gun clubs in sparsely populated Finland could be hundreds of kilometers away from would-be gun owners, and the new law would hinder young shooting competitors in reaching the top of their sport.

    Finland reportedly has more than 670,000 licensed gun holders. Some 20 organizations representing various types of gun enthusiasts oppose the legislation and are working to have it aborted many gun owners reportedly see the draft law as unconstitutional.

    Police Firearm Use By Country

    Gun grab and gun surrender: two extremes of British police gun policy

    The use of firearms by police forces varies widely across the world, in part due to differences in gun use policy, civilian firearm laws, and recording of police activity. Police may require that officers use warning shots before aiming on-target, officers may need to make verbal warnings before using their firearms, and officers may be prohibited from carrying weapons while performing tasks such as highway patrol where gun use is not expected.

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    What Happens To The Surrendered Firearms

    The police returns the firearms, components, cartridges and specially dangerous firearms to the original legal owner, if the owner has or is granted a permit to possess them. If you hand over a firearm to the police and you are not granted a permit to possess it, you have three months to look for a new owner who has a permit to acquire it. If you are not able to find a new owner, the police can then sell the firearm on your behalf by public auction. The sale price is paid to you after the administration costs have been deducted from it.

    If the firearm is not sold, it will become state property without payment.

    A firearm can also be rendered permanently unusable, i.e. deactivated. You can also surrender firearms to the state without payment. We recommend this particularly when firearms are in poor condition.

    Firearm components, cartridges and specially dangerous ammunition are always surrendered to the state, unless they are handed over to the original, legal owner. The police will seize any firearms, firearm components, cartridges, specially dangerous ammunition and explosives that have been stolen or used in criminal activity. Any explosives that are assessed to be dangerous are destroyed.

    Policing Persons In Custody Or Detention

    15. Law enforcement officials, in their relations with persons in custody or detention, shall not use force, except when strictly necessary for the maintenance of security and order within the institution, or when personal safety is threatened.

    16. Law enforcement officials, in their relations with persons in custody or detention, shall not use firearms, except in self-defence or in the defence of others against the immediate threat of death or serious injury, or when strictly necessary to prevent the escape of a person in custody or detention presenting the danger referred to in principle 9.

    17. The preceding principles are without prejudice to the rights, duties and responsibilities of prison officials, as set out in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, particularly rules 33, 34 and 54.

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    Reporting And Review Procedures

    22. Governments and law enforcement agencies shall establish effective reporting and review procedures for all incidents referred to in principles 6 and 11 . For incidents reported pursuant to these principles, Governments and law enforcement agencies shall ensure that an effective review process is available and that independent administrative or prosecutorial authorities are in a position to exercise jurisdiction in appropriate circumstances. In cases of death and serious injury or other grave consequences, a detailed report shall be sent promptly to the competent authorities responsible for administrative review and judicial control.

    23. Persons affected by the use of force and firearms or their legal representatives shall have access to an independent process, including a judicial process. In the event of the death of such persons, this provision shall apply to their dependants accordingly.

    24. Governments and law enforcement agencies shall ensure that superior officers are held responsible if they know, or should have known, that law enforcement officials under their command are resorting, or have resorted, to the unlawful use of force and firearms, and they did not take all measures in their power to prevent, suppress or report such use.


    Finland Moves To Update Police Firearms Arsenal

    Why do U.S. police prefer to use gun?

    Finnish police may introduce new submachine guns for field patrols but off-duty cops still won’t be allowed to carry their duty weapons.

    Police authorities have reportedly settled on the Czech-manufactured CZ Scorpion Evo carbine to replace German-made Heckler & Kock MP5 submachine guns currently used by field patrol officers. According to established practice, new firearms are taken into use when previous supply contracts expire. The weapons currently in use were developed in the 1960s, while the new models have only been on the market for about a decade.

    In principle, the new weapon has the same technical functionalities as the outgoing firearm and both use the same kinds of rounds. However the incoming submachine guns are easier to use for sustained automatic firing than the older weapons.

    “The technical features are a bit different, so setting up for automatic fire is a little easier,” said police inspector Ari Alanen of the National Police Board.

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    How Common Are Strained Police

    Worldwide, police often have tense relationships with minority communities. U.S. policing has a long history of discrimination. Black Americans are 20 percent more likely to have their vehicles pulled over and about three times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police. Discriminatory policing contributes to high rates of incarceration among minorities, oftentimes resulting in disenfranchisement, recidivism, and generational poverty.

    Racial, religious, and other minorities are also stopped more often by police in much of Europe, despite generally lower crime rates among these groups. France has long struggled with rampant police targeting and abuse of Black and Arab people, which has at times sparked mass protests. Human rights activists have accused police in several OECD countriesincluding Greece, Italy, and North Macedoniaof arbitrarily detaining, torturing, or otherwise abusing refugees and migrants. Frequent deaths of indigenous Australians in police custody and prison have fueled outrage for decades.

    New data-driven policing tools, which use technology to surveil the public and predict crime, could exacerbate racialized policing in Europe and the United States, according to anti-racism researchers. Facial recognition tools are less able to accurately distinguish between people of color, and U.S. police forces have faced allegations of perpetuating racism through data-driven profiling.

    Assault Rifles For Patrols

    Since last year, police field patrol units have been equipped with submachine guns. In addition to the heavier arms, each officer carries a handgun as a duty weapon. The submachine guns are used for backup firepower, for example by patrols working at airports.

    Police officials have pointed to the threat of terrorism as justification for arming officers with more fire power. According to Alanen, in addition to firearms, field patrols are also equipped with protective gear.

    “At the moment patrols are almost completely equipped with a comprehensive set of use of force gear.”

    Joensuu entrepreneur and firearms expert Timo Lappalainen told Yle hes familiar with both the currently-used MP5 and the Scorpion Evo submachine guns.

    He said that sustained firepower is not the most important feature of the weapon used by police, but its precision. A submachine gun is much more accurate than a handgun because users can support the submachine gun against their shoulders.

    officials dont need automatic fire, thats for the army. Of course there will be situations where you need to use a backup weapon, but thats when you need accuracy, Lappalainen remarked.

    The gun merchant said that the weapon that police will give up performs more reliably than the new choice but one advantage of the Czech firearm is that it can be used with different accessories.

    “It is easier to attach scopes and lights.”

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    Qualifications Training And Counselling

    18. Governments and law enforcement agencies shall ensure that all law enforcement officials are selected by proper screening procedures, have appropriate moral, psychological and physical qualities for the effective exercise of their functions and receive continuous and thorough professional training. Their continued fitness to perform these functions should be subject to periodic review.

    19. Governments and law enforcement agencies shall ensure that all law enforcement officials are provided with training and are tested in accordance with appropriate proficiency standards in the use of force. Those law enforcement officials who are required to carry firearms should be authorized to do so only upon completion of special training in their use.

    20. In the training of law enforcement officials, Governments and law enforcement agencies shall give special attention to issues of police ethics and human rights, especially in the investigative process, to alternatives to the use of force and firearms, including the peaceful settlement of conflicts, the understanding of crowd behaviour, and the methods of persuasion, negotiation and mediation, as well as to technical means, with a view to limiting the use of force and firearms. Law enforcement agencies should review their training programmes and operational procedures in the light of particular incidents.

    Laws Enforced On Police

    NCRPO recovers over 300 gov’t issued firearms from erring cops

    In many of the countries where police are unarmed, officers have to abide by stricter laws.

    Under the European Convention of Human Rights, officers can only shoot if its absolutely necessary. In Finland and Norway, officers cannot pull the trigger in any circumstances before getting permission from a more senior official. In the U.S., by contrast, the overriding goals of current law, policy, and training on the use of force to protect the safety of police, says Hirschfield.

    Experts say that the state and federal governments in the United States could learn from Europe, by adopting laws that make it easier to prosecute and dismiss police officers for misconduct, alongside creating more rigorous licensure and training requirements.

    Stricter gun laws can also help reduce the number of fatalities caused by law enforcement. The United States is home to 40% of the worlds firearms, a threat both to police officers and those they encounter. Studies have found that weaker gun laws correlate with higher rates of killings by police officers, who fear civilians may be carrying a weapon.

    It remains a stubborn issue in the U.S., mired in deadlock even after record numbers of mass shootings, and sure to loom large in the nascent effort to re-imagine public safety. For its part, New Zealand introduced stricter gun legislations following the mosque shooting in 2019 and this week, its Police Commissioner Andrew Coster announced that he is committed to keeping cops unarmed.

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