The law requires that when the police have apprehended persons for the purpose of protecting them because they are intoxicated, the police should endeavour to take them to a sobering-up unit or to another treatment facility, if they cannot be looked after in other ways. In many parts of Finland, sobering-up treatment services are not available, which means that such individuals have to be placed in police custody facilities. In his decision on deaths in police custody, the Parliamentary Ombudsman identified shortcomings in the organisation of sobering-up treatment services and in the regulation on the responsibility for organising such services, and took the view that the matter should be remedied in connection with the health and social services reform.
The CPT has also regularly criticised Finland for the fact that intoxicated persons are still often kept in police custody facilities, even though the police and guards do not have adequate training for the task. In its report on the visit to Finland, the Committee considers it clear that the current arrangements are not sufficient to prevent the deaths of intoxicated persons in police custody facilities. In the working group's draft proposal, the responsibility for organising sobering-up treatment services would be specified so that the wellbeing services counties referred to in the health and social services reform would be responsible for organising the services in their area. This would make it possible to keep fewer intoxicated persons who are not disorderly in police custody facilities.