The Police have duties relating to the prevention of accidents, fighting the consequences and investigating the causes of accidents.
In everyday language, an accident can mean various kinds of sudden incidents causing injuries, property damage or damage to the environment. Typically, these are, for example, traffic accidents, explosions or natural disasters.
Based on legislation, the police have duties relating to
- the prevention of accidents
- preparing for accidents
- acting in connection with accidents
- fighting the consequences of accidents
- investigating the causes of accidents.
Responsibilities can concern also other authorities, private entities or individual citizens.
The general duty to act applies to everyone
Each one of us is responsible for acting when encountering an accident. This responsibility applies also if you notice a potential accident or find out about one.
If you can’t prevent the accident yourself, tell the people at risk about it and call the emergency number 112. Take the rescue measures you can.
Duties of the police in accidents
The duties of the police in accidents involve primarily maintaining public order and safety as well as supporting other authorities’ operations. The police isolate the accident area if necessary, secure the work of rescuers and other helpers and prevent additional accidents for their part.
The police also have various investigation tasks in connection with accidents.
The police investigate some accidents
If a crime is suspected in connection with an accident, the police conduct an investigation. In traffic accidents, for example, someone is usually suspected of breaking traffic rules and thus causing the accident.
The police conduct crime investigations also based on other authorities’ notifications. For example:
- environmental authorities can report an accident that has caused damage to the environment
- emergency authorities can report suspicions related to fires
- occupational safety and health authorities can report occupational accidents.
If someone has died because of an accident, the police conduct a medical examination to determine cause of death.
Major emergencies are very serious accidents. The seriousness is affected by the amount of deaths or injured persons, property damage or the type of accident.
Major emergencies are investigated by the Safety Investigation Authority, operating under the Ministry of Justice. The authority also investigates some other accidents, dangerous situations or exceptional incidents.
The purpose of security investigations by the Safety Investigation Authority is to increase general safety, prevent accidents and dangerous situations as well as avoid damage caused by accidents.
The Safety Investigation Authority does not conduct investigations to determine legal responsibility.