Poliisi on varautunut valvomaan liikkumisrajoitusten noudattamista
Police prepared to monitor compliance with movement restrictions

Publication date 25.3.2021 11.19 | Published in English on 26.3.2021 at 15.06
News item

For its part, the Police is preparing for the introduction of movement restrictions. In practice, the monitoring would be taken care of by the current Police resources. The objective is to ensure that the restrictions imposed will be followed as comprehensively as possible.

- According to the plans, Police control organisations for movement restrictions would be instituted in the Helsinki, Eastern and Western Uusimaa Police departments as well as the southwest Finland Police department.   Police officers now working in supervision and emergency operations and traffic controls would mainly be assigned to these monitoring tasks. The Police would perform the monitoring using officers already in service, and most of the work would take place as overtime. Our challenge is to liberate a sufficient number of Police officers from other tasks to take up the monitoring duties, Deputy National Police Commissioner Sanna Heikinheimo of the National Police Board points out, adding that Finland has the lowest number of Police officers in Europe, in proportion to the number of population.

As a premise, the Police would not request mutual administrative support from other authorities, such as the Defence Forces, since controls require the use of Police powers. However, there is readiness to request mutual administrative support if it is needed in individual cases. 

Prioritisation of duties

Despite the new temporary monitoring duty, the Police must always attend to the other tasks imposed by the law - alarms, criminal investigation and permit services. The monitoring of movement restrictions would not impact the response to urgent alarm situations. - Due to time constraints, among other reasons, there are no plans to recruit new Police officers for the monitoring. Retired officers belonging to risk groups cannot be employed for these duties, Deputy Police Commissioner Heikinheimo adds. The monitoring operation would also impact criminal investigation and lengthen the times of investigations underway. 

The respect of movement restrictions would be monitored 24/7. According to the Government proposal, the Police could ask people on the move in the restriction area for an explanation for their movements. The explanation could be given either in writing or given orally. -The bill includes several possibilities allowing movement in the restriction areas. Based on the bill, it is not yet possible to provide an exhaustive list of the grounds for indispensable movement but, in the monitoring operations, the Police would have discretion on a case-by-case basis. 

In practice, the Police would not have the possibility to stop everyone moving about.

- Police monitoring will not stop Covid-19 from spreading.  We fulfil our share but each and every person can act responsibly and make a difference to stop the pandemic from spreading, she adds. 
The Police would primarily perform the monitoring duty by giving advice, recommendations and orders but, if necessary, fines could also be issued, Deputy Commissioner Heikinheimo specifies. According to the Government proposal, the Police could impose a fine on violating the movement restrictions and an on-the-spot fine of 40 euro for not wearing the mask.  - It is good to have clear consequences for breach of the restrictions.

The Police would issue regular information on the monitoring duty. In practice, this would take place, for example, through the Police social media channels and Internet site. Through the implementation of Section 106 of the Emergency Powers Act, the communications collaboration with the Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office is constant to keep the communications as clear and accessible as possible.

-The Police is closely following the progress of the Government proposal and especially the final content of the Act adopted by Parliament. Should there be restrictions, we are prepared, Deputy Commissioner Heikinheimo wraps up.