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Free provision of executive assistance to child welfare and emergency social services by the police made statutory

Ministry of the Interior
14.10.2021 13.36 | Published in English on 15.10.2021 at 15.29
Press release 130/2021
child and adult holding hands.

The Ministry of the Interior has launched a legislative project to make executive assistance provided by the police to child welfare and emergency social services free of charge. Free executive assistance cannot be implemented without a legislative amendment. The free executive assistance provided by the police would concern, for example, the search for a child who has left a child welfare institution without permission and the return of the child to the child welfare institution.

“The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that people in a particularly vulnerable position, such as children or victims of intimate partner violence, receive the support they need in an acute situation. In carrying out this task, child welfare authorities and emergency social services and crisis emergency support sometimes need executive assistance from the police. As a result of the amendment, practical operators will not have to consider the costs of the executive assistance related to these often serious and urgent measures, and there will be no delays in providing the assistance needed,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.

Provisions on fees for executive assistance provided by the police are laid down in the Decree of the Ministry of the Interior on Chargeable Services of the Police. The Act on the Reimbursement of Certain Costs of Executive Assistance by the Police of 1956, which is outdated, is also still in force. The current regulation has proved to be open to interpretation.  In order to clarify the legislation and make executive assistance provided by the police to child welfare and emergency social services free of charge, the 1956 Act should be repealed and provisions on free executive assistance prepared.

The aim is that the provisions under preparation on the costs of executive assistance provided by the police would not only enable effective official activities but also ensure that the police are able to carry out the duties laid down for them in the Police Act.

In order for the police to be able to carry out their statutory duties, it is important that executive assistance is requested from the police only when there is a genuine need. For this reason, the activities, resources and powers of the authority requesting executive assistance must be arranged in such a way that the performance of its basic tasks does not rely on executive assistance on a regular basis.

The aim of the project now set up is to draw up a proposal for the free provision of executive assistance by the police to child welfare and emergency social services as well as for legislation at the level of an act of Parliament concerning the reimbursement of the costs of executive assistance.

The project contributes to supporting the Government Programme’s objectives of promoting a child and family-friendly society and prioritising the wellbeing of children and young people. The project term is from 18 October 2021 to 31 December 2022. The work will take into account the ongoing reform of the Child Welfare Act at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

The intention is that the amendments would enter into force on 1 January 2023.

Marja-Leena Härkönen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 297, [email protected]