|Location:||Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia|
|Land boundaries:||Total 2,628 km; Norway 729 km, Sweden 586 km, Russia 1,313 km|
|Ethnic groups:||Finn (93%), Swede (6%), Lapp (0.11%), Gypsy (0.12%), Tatar (0.02%)|
|Religions:||Evangelical Lutheran (89%), Greek Orthodox (1%), non (9%), other (1%)|
|Languages:||Finnish (93.5%, official), Swedish (6.3%, official), small Lapp and Russian-speaking minorities|
Long ruled by foreign powers, including Sweden and the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire, Finland finally declared independence in 1917. During World War II, Finland fought the USSR twice and then the Germans toward the end of the war. In the following half-century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy. Per capita income has risen to the West European level; Finland is member of the European Union and is the only Nordic state which joined the Euro system at its initiation in January 1999.
Finland is a republic. The government consists of a president, council of state led by the prime minister, central administration, regional authorities and local government. The country is divided into 5 provinces and further divided into municipalities and towns. The court system in Finland is hierarchically organised on three levels (supreme courts, superior courts and lower courts).
Finland has a highly industrialised, largely free-market economy, with per capita output roughly that of the UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing – principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Trade is important, with the expOrt of goods representing about 30% of GDP. The economy has come back from the recession of 1990-92, which had been caused by economic overheating, depressed foreign markets, and the dismantling of the barter system between Finland and the former Soviet Union. Rapidly increasing integration with Western Europe will dominate the economic picture over the next several years.
The Finnish police is hierarchically organized on three levels; central administration is located in the Ministry of the Interior, regional administration is within the Provincial Governments and for local administration the provinces are divided into local administrative districts.
The police department of the Ministry of the Interior acts as the central administrative body for the police service. It is also the Supreme Command of the Police which has also operational tasks. The head of the police department, the national police commander, is both administrative and operational head of all the police forces in Finland.
In each province the provincial police commander heads the police department which is in charge of police operations and administrative duties in the province.
The local administrative unit is the local administrative district. The police department of the local administrative districts is headed by the chief of police, who is in charge of police.
operations and administrative duties in the local administrative district.
The Police Act and the Police Statute the Police Decree The Police Act defines the duties of the Police as follows:
“It is the duty of the police to secure judicial and social order, to maintain public order and safety as well as to prevent, investigate and forward crimes to prosecution.”
The police decree obliges the police to attend to the prevention of breaches of order, crimes and accidents and to give the public such help as belongs to the duties of the police. The activity of the police should in the first place consist of giving advice, making recommendations and giving orders in an objective, impartial and conciliatory spirit. The citizens shall for their part obey the directions, orders and prohibitions that the Police give them within the limits of their competence.
When performing their tasks the police may meet with resistance. In order to ensure the execution of the duties of the police the Police Act gives a policeman the right to use force, if necessary. The use of force is, however, restricted. It should begin with the most lenient means and gradually become more severe, if the task cannot be performed otherwise.
Special functions of the police
Directly to the Ministry of the Interior are subordinated three operational police units; the Central Criminal Police, the Mobile Police and the Security Police. These units have district or provincial offices in various parts of the country and they operate and have jurisdiction throughout the country.
The Central Criminal Police performs criminal investigations in major cases of crime, provides central forensic science and identification services by preparing statements to be used in the courts of justice. The Finnish National Bureau of the ICPO-Interpol is functioning within the Central Criminal Police.
The Mobile Police is assisting other police units and performs traffic control mostly onhighways and acts as the national police reserve.
The Security Police investigates offences against the state and fights crimes against the law and order of the state and the community.
The Finnish police are trained in two institutes, the police school for cadets and police officers and supervising officers and the police academy for commanding officers.