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It’s not easy being blue in Finland

March 21, 2006
Before I moved to Finland I was planning to be a police officer. It’s something I still have an affinity for even though a long time has passed since I left home to come here.
 
I have to say that I haven’t keenly followed the activities of the Finnish Police (http://www.poliisi.fi/poliisi/home.nsf/pages/index_eng), I can say one thing – police officers in Finland are not valued for the (sometimes) dangerous work they do. I have understood that they are not paid very well at all. In fact, as a freelancing teacher just a few years back, I was making more per month than the average Finnish police officer when I was able to get my hands on comparative figures.
 
Wait… let me add a thing or two: Not enough immigrants being attracted to the Finnish Police, that is a fact… I also get the impression that the Finnish Police still rely a lot on police-based training, when they should be hiring financial experts (economic crime), computer science grads (internet crime) and science grads (biology, chemistry) to fight the evolution of crime over the past 15 years. (Please correct me if I am wrong!)
 
Police officers face serious risks in their every day work in the otherwise "peaceful" Nordic countries. A report in the fall of 2005 in "This week in the Nordic Region" from the Nordic Council (www.norden.org) noted an upswing in violence against police officers.
Police warn of increase in violence
 
Police officers are having to cope with more and more violence. A Swedish police station came under fire recently and a Norwegian officer has been shot dead during an armed robbery.
 
"It is an increasing problem throughout the Nordic Region. Even peaceful Iceland is no longer quite so idyllic. Upwards of 60% of police officers are victims of violence or threatening behaviour. It is particularly serious in Iceland that no fewer than 45% of the families of police officers have suffered harassment or violence," the leader of the Norwegian Police Federation, Arne Johannessen, told Aftenposten.
 
"Attacks on the police cannot be tolerated in an open and modern constitutional state. We need to improve economic conditions to turn this trend around," he added.
Finally, to add to my first point… Finland can take a page from the book of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), which made a huge push in the 1990’s to recruit "visible minorities" and those with different kinds of education. People of different backgrounds just might make the best officers and help make a difference in society… To sum it up, here are the home pages of the National Police School of Finland: http://www.poliisikoulu.fi/poliisi/poliisikoulu/home.nsf/pages/indexeng
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