Two criminal groups were declared to be discontinued - National Police Board gives instructions to surveillance

16.2.2021 13.03
News item

The district court of Eastern Uusimaa declared the unregistered associations called United Brotherhood (UB) and Bad Union (BU) dissolved on 15 February 2021.

The action for dissolution of the organisations was brought by special prosecutor of the Southern Finland Prosecution district and the National Police Board on 6 September 2019. According to the action, United Brotherhood was considered a prohibited association referred to in section 3 of the Finnish Associations Act and having materially acted against the law and good manners. Bad Union was considered having contributed to the activities contrary to good manners of United Brotherhood.

The district court opined in its judgment that the activities of UB and BU were such a flagrant violation of law that they have to be dissolved in the public interest. Warning cannot be deemed a sufficient sanction. Therefore, UB and BU have to be declared dissolved.

The district court considered it had been proved in the matter that all the criteria of a prohibited association referred to in section 3 of the Finnish Associations Act are met with regard to the activities of UB as well as BU as a part of its operation. Thus, UB and BU are prohibited associations as intended in the provision.

The operation of UB and BU has been clearly contrary to criminal law as is substantiated by numerous felony convictions. Hence the district court finds that the activities of UB and BU were substantially in defiance of the law. Considering the accounts on the activities of UB and BU, the district court deems that their activities were also materially contrary to good manners.

Strategy for the prevention of organised crime

The purpose of the strategy for the prevention of organised crime is to weaken and prevent the operational preconditions for organised crime so that organised crime decreases and does not develop into a more critical phenomenon. A particular aim is to prevent the adverse effect of organised crime to the operation of the society, hinder organisation of the criminals and emphasize that participation in any activities related to organised crime is not a lucrative option. 

The police must use effective methods to prevent organised crime. In addition to the traditional methods of crime prevention and criminal procedure, for example, preventive measures and administrative prevention measures are highlighted. Prevention of organised crime with administrative measures means that membership in a group of organised crime is taken into account more systematically than before in various administrative decision-making processes to prevent crimes.

Monitoring the operation of the groups

A decision to dissolve the operation of a certain group on the basis of the Finnish Associations Act (503/1989) cannot, on its own, be considered an effective measure to prevent the operation of a group or groups. However, it gives the police a chance to intervene in situations where the prohibited operation is clearly continued, such as gatherings at the premises used by the groups, representation or acting on behalf of the groups or accepting new members to the groups. 

The district court ruling is the first of its kind concerning a group in organised crime in Finland. In Europe, decisions concerning prohibition of operation of groups have been made in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. The National Police Board will give instructions to police units in the supervision of the operation of the above-mentioned groups. The principles of proportionality, minimum intervention as well as intended purpose defined in the Police Act (872/2011) are considered in the supervision and interference in the activities.

In the course of handling the action for dissolution, the National Police Board has been asked whether it will bring prohibitory injunctions also in connection with other groups of organised crime. The National Police Board will now peruse the ruling of the district court, especially its grounds, and assess the effects of the decision. No decision to bring prohibitory injunctions has been made vis-à-vis other groups.

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