Police Finland and Sweden agreed on border co-operation in the Tornio Valley

Police in neighboring countries can help each other fight urgent serious crimes such as homicides.

Finland and Sweden have signed an agreement on border police cooperation in the Tornio Valley. Its purpose is to improve police co-operation between the countries and people to receive urgent assistance in connection with serious crimes, the Ministry of the Interior says in a press release.

Under the agreement, a request can be made to a neighboring state if urgent assistance is needed to combat a serious crime that poses a threat to human life, health or bodily integrity. Such crimes include, for example, rape, aggravated assault, and homicide. It is possible to refuse on request.

Assistance in the case of serious crimes of the above type may also be provided to a neighboring state without a separate request. The police authority can then cross the state border and take temporary measures in the border area to combat crime. This only applies if there is a risk that the danger will materialize before the police in the host country arrive on the scene.

The police must act in accordance with the law of the host country and within the limits of their powers under national law. The agreement also stipulates, among other things, criminal and civil liability as well as liability for costs, the Ministry of the Interior says.

The agreement applies in Finland in the municipalities of Enontekiö, Kolari, Muonio, Pello, Tornio and Ylitornio. In Sweden, the agreement applies in the municipalities of Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala and Ylitornio.

Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Green) and the Swedish Minister of the Interior Mikael Damberg signed the agreement today in Tornio.

Ohisalo said at a news conference that now that the agreement has been signed, the legislative work related to the agreement will begin. The exact timetable for the start of concrete cooperation is still open.

“In the next half of the year, it would be desirable to be able to apply,” Ohisalo said.

Police border co-operation has also raised concerns among police officers. According to the Swedish Polisförbundet and the Finnish Association of Police Organizations, there are ambiguities in the operating model, for example in terms of management, responsibilities and competence.

Ohisalo said that efforts have been made to address the concerns of the police already during the preparation process. They are also taken into account in the training ahead.

“Now we need to make sure that people are educated not only on legal issues, on the one hand, on language issues,” on the other hand, perhaps on equipment issues. And of course there is still time here.

The Nordic police authorities have been cooperating in practical crime prevention for several decades. Cooperation is based on international agreements, EU law and the national legislation of each country. According to the Ministry of the Interior, Nordic police co-operation has been effective and regular.

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