Reserve police would be part of police preparedness arrangements and provide assistance in unexpected situations
Finland intends to update its reserve police system. The purpose of the new system would be to ensure public security in situations where police must focus their resources on dealing with unexpected and unforeseen situations.
The Ministry of the Interior has sent out for comments a draft bill on updating the Finnish reserve police system. The purpose of the legislative proposal is to update the legislation in accordance with the changed security situation and new threats and to strengthen the operational capability of the Finnish police in extensive and unforeseen incidents and security situations.
"The key question in Finland is how we prepare for unexpected incidents in normal conditions. In this preparation, the reserve police system is an important step in the right direction," says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen, explaining the background of the proposal.
The reserve police would always operate under the direct guidance of the regular police force
The reserve police would be part of the police preparedness arrangements and they would serve as a police reserve in unforeseen and exceptional situations on a temporary basis. The deployment of the reserve police personnel would allow regular police officers to concentrate on their core duties. The members of the reserve police would not operate independently as they would assist the regular police force and be under its direct guidance. The Finnish Government would decide on the deployment of the reserve police personnel.
The existing provisions on the reserve police would be repealed and replaced by an act on the reserve police. The new act would be applied in emergencies and the state of defence as well as during incidents affecting normal conditions. Such incidents could include an unexpectedly large influx of migrants in which police resources must be strengthened or a situation where the terrorism threat level is considered so high that the police are hard-pressed to manage all their duties.
The act would contain provisions on the tasks, powers and obligations of the reserve police personnel, as well as on their right to use force during incidents in normal conditions, emergencies and the state of defence. Provisions on the qualification requirements of the reserve police personnel would also be laid down in the law and the members of the force would be appointed to their positions as public officials after the Finnish Government has decided on their deployment. The members of the reserve police would also have to undergo the required basic training and take part in refresher courses when in the reserve.
Further provisions on the equipment and training of the reserve police personnel as well as the terms and conditions of their deployment and service would be given by Government decree.
"The reserve police system is a cost-effective addition to the operational capability of the police during incidents in normal conditions and emergencies. At the same time, it is clear that the system will not replace police officers. It is necessary to maintain police numbers and resources in future too," emphasises Mykkänen.
The costs of the reserve police system are estimated to be EUR 5.2 million arising from one-off material purchases and organisational costs. The annual cost of maintaining the system would be about EUR 0.5 million.