Confidence in the police will remain strong as long as the police do not become parties to the disputes.
Political the torsion of police budgets was happily ended when the police got their missing money and layoffs were avoided. The end result was no real surprise, as the police have much more effective ways to influence through the public for their own resources than most other people in society need money.
During the autumn, the police have signaled to the public in what ways the security of citizens will be shaken if the police do not receive their money. Drug offenders cannot be stopped, it is useless for those living in remote areas to call the police, and human trafficking can no longer be investigated.
Police lobbying was understandable, but very massive – as if driving an armored car to calm a kiosk fight. No wonder it started to annoy politicians. Yes, that money would have come with a slightly smaller cry.
Now the police have found themselves in an embarrassing situation after giving false information about the evacuation of the Government Castle. According to a Helsinki police release, the activities of Elokapina activists had weakened security so much that the president and ministers had to be directed out along alternative routes. Sauli Niinistö and several ministers have since denied the claim. The Police Board investigates the activities of the Helsinki Police.
The arrests of activists and the heavy criminal charges against them have also aroused astonishment. It is difficult to avoid the idea that the police had provoked long protests and therefore interpreted the events through the worst. Police may also have had their own reasons for exaggerating the dangers of activists. In the early days of the protests, the public was told that six police officers were suspected of crimes over the use of gas spray in the fall 2020 Elokapina demonstration.
Crises and in a world of conflict, police are needed to resolve disputes. It is therefore important that the police do not – and do not even seem to drift – become parties to social disputes.
The police have enjoyed an exceptionally broad and strong public confidence in Finland. Such trust is an important asset to society, but also to the police, who best nurture trust by keeping their heads cold and with restraint – that is, with the traditional virtues of the police.
The author is the forerunner of the editorial and opinion editor.