Good results in project to combat travelling criminal groups from abroad
An intensified crime combating project was launched in June to target criminals who come from abroad to commit property offences. The purpose of the intensified measures was to send out a clear message that it is not worth coming to Finland to commit offences, as there is a high risk of being caught.
The national crime combating project targeting criminals coming from abroad is an example of successful inter-authority cooperation in combating property offences. Various police units, the Customs, the Border Guard and the Office of the Prosecutor General have worked closely together. The operation was also supported by the authorities of neighbouring countries, for example Estonia and Latvia.
National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero notes that in addition to wide-reaching cooperation between the Finnish authorities, the project involved especially their Estonian, Latvian and Swedish colleagues. Europol also lent its support to this project.
Deputy National Police Commissioner Robin Lardot says that excellent results have been achieved by the intensified measures. During the summer months, more than 200 foreign criminals were apprehended.
The project activities mainly target criminals and criminal groups arriving through the ports of Helsinki. Movements at other entry points are also being monitored. An attempt is made to detect potential offenders as soon as they enter or leave the country. These persons are profiled and grouped into three categories depending on their potential criminality. So far, approximately 600 profiles of this type have been produced by the joint PTR analysis function of the police, the Customs and the Border Guard.
- If certain criteria are met, an attempt is made to refuse entry to persons with a criminal background as they arrive in the port. In individual cases, surveillance measures are targeted at criminals entering the country. If this is not possible, the targets' criminal activities have been thwarted by such means as repeated inspections by police patrols. The Command and Communications Centre of Helsinki Police Department plays an important role in launching and implementing initial measures associated with the project, says Lardot.
The most important objective of the project is apprehending criminals and bringing them to justice. The project also set out to test the functioning of the authorities' cooperation structures and developed new forms of cooperation.
The project also proved the functioning of the new two-tiered administration structure of the police after a reorganisation that took place at the beginning of the year. According to National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero, the reformed police administration provides good opportunities for cooperation both between police units and with other authorities.
The project was initiated as a response to the growth in the number of criminals who are foreigners and who come to Finland from abroad during this millennium. As the Baltic states joined the Schengen area, border checks were no longer carried out. Subsequently, the number of offences committed by criminals crossing the Gulf of Finland in particular went up. In addition to the Baltic states, groups of criminals also come from Poland and Romania. The majority of these crimes are traditional property offences, such as aggravated burglaries of occupied dwellings and shops.
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