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Public disturbances

Public disturbances

The investigation of various disturbances and offences related to them is part of the police’s duties. Typically, security stewarding duties are performed by uniformed police officers. 

Two uniformed patrol officers leaning against a railing with their backs to the camera, keeping order in a shopping centre. People on the lower level are visible next to a glass railing in the distance.

Public disturbances can occur anywhere people are spending time. There are a lot of people moving around and a lot is happening all the time in public places and large urban centres. Traffic jams, noise and normal disturbances must be tolerated. You may also face situations that require police action. The disturbances may involve alcohol, other intoxicants or drugs. Sometimes disturbing behaviour can frighten passers-by.

Sounds of life must be tolerated

Various disturbances can also occur in private places, such as your home, if you live in an apartment building or row house. These disturbances can include noise from neighbours, loud music or playing instruments.  

Sounds belonging to normal life, such as sounds from the neighbouring apartment, must be tolerated. 

The tolerance limit for disturbances varies at different times of the day. This means that less disturbances need to be tolerated in the early morning hours before dawn, compared to daytime life.

What to do when faced with public disturbances?

  • If the disturbance occurs in a public place, you should primarily call the emergency number 112. 
  • Don’t try to handle the situation yourself if it’s not safe. The police will check the situation and assess how it will be handled. Sometimes even a talk with the police will be enough to stop the disturbance. 
  • if the disturbance occurs in a private place, you can go and speak to your neighbour about the disturbing behaviour. If necessary, you can also report the issue to the property manager. If you assess that you can’t handle the situation yourself, call the emergency number 112. 
  • If the disturbance ends before the police arrives, it’s very important to inform the emergency number 112 about this to avoid an unnecessary visit by the police.


Further information of security stewarding

The Public Order Act in Finlex 

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Frequently asked questions

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