Organised crime has a major impact on society
Organised crime refers to a group of a minimum of three persons acting together to commit a serious crime. The activities of these groups are characterised by the use or threat of violence, and money laundering. Such groups may have a hierarchical or network structure and their aim is to generate a financial profit or gain influence for their members through criminal activities or apparently legal activities. These groups may operate at local, national or transnational level.
In Finland, groups of organised criminals are involved in narcotics offences in particular, but have also expanded their activities into the construction, cleaning and restaurant sectors. They are also seeking to extend their influence into societal structures and decision-making systems. Camouflaging criminal activity as charitable or recreational activities is one method used by these groups to extend their influence into society in general.
International connections on the rise and increase in cyber-facilitated crime
According to information held by the police, the number of organised crime groups in Finland has increased over the last ten years. The National Bureau of Investigation estimates that there are 90 organised crime groups in Finland, with 900-1,000 members. In Finland, these groups are mainly of domestic origin. On the other hand, organised crime has become more international and most organised crime groups collaborate with groups based in Russia and the Baltic states in particular.
Outlaw motorcycle clubs are gangs that wear colours. They first entered Finland at the turn of 1980s and 1990s, as internationalisation and cross-border mobility increased. These gangs have continuously strengthened their position – in the 2000s, they spread their activities throughout Finland, opening chapters or becoming active in all major cities. Outlaw motorcycle clubs have significantly expanded their activities in all countries in the Baltic Sea region. It should be noted that these groups consider themselves beyond the rules of organised civil society.
Organised crime exploits information networks to commit offences such as ransomware, phishing, fraud, money laundering and sexual abuse of children.
Fight against organised crime
Finland does not currently have specific national legislation for combating organised crime, nor has membership of a criminal organisation been criminalised. However, under the Criminal Code, an offence committed as a member of an organised crime group may constitute grounds for increasing the severity of a punishment.
The fight against organised crime requires extensive cooperation between authorities and stakeholders, based on criminal law and administrative means.
The Police Department at the Ministry of the Interior is responsible for outlining the necessary measures to be taken by the police.