Finnish Police Could Intervene in Northern Sweden

Sveriges justisminister Gunnar Strömmer (Moderaterna).
Sweden's Minister for Justice Gunnar Strömmer (Moderates) emphasizes that organized crime is border-crossing. (Photo: the Swedish Government)

Finnish police will be allowed to intervene against criminals on Swedish soil in cases of extreme crime, such as murder, rape, and robberies, in situations where Swedish police cannot get there in time.

On Wednesday, the Swedish government adopted a bill that deepened police cooperation between Sweden and Finland in the Tornedal region in the North. The proposal is based on an agreement between Sweden and Finland and involves Finnish police officers being allowed to carry out urgent police duties on Swedish territory in the border area.

"Organized crime is border-crossing. Therefore, we must do everything we can to tackle crime across country borders, both in the EU and the Nordic countries. The government is now proposing a deepened police cooperation between Sweden and Finland. This is about strengthening the police's operative capacity in the Tornedal region and moving positions forward to increase the inhabitants' security and freedom. A strong police cooperation between Sweden and Finland is more important than ever," says Sweden's Minister for Justice, Gunnar Strömmer.

The proposals include Swedish police being able to ask Finnish police for support in urgent matters where it is necessary to intervene against a severe crime in the Swedish border area. The government also proposes that Finnish police officers should be able to intervene in the Swedish border area in situations that involve immediate danger to a person's life or health without a request from the Swedish police.

The bill also proposes regulations allowing Finnish service weapons into Sweden and regulating the powers of Finnish police officers. The law amendments are proposed to come into force on the day the government decides.

The bill's background is that Swedish police may have difficulties getting to ongoing crimes that take place outside central areas. Therefore, Swedish police want help from the neighboring country while they wait for Swedish police to get to the scene.

Finnish police must also be allowed to intervene without Swedish police requesting it in situations that involve an immediate danger to someone's life or health, such as accidents and natural disasters.

According to the government, the proposal goes further than many of Sweden's cooperation with police in other countries, implying that Finnish police are given relatively far-reaching powers to intervene in the Swedish border area.

The municipalities where this will apply on the Swedish side are Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala, and Övertorneå. In Finland, it applies to the municipalities of Enontekis, Kolari, Muonio, Pello, Torneå, and Övertorneå (Ylitornio).

The Swedish police want help between Pajala and Torneå. (Google Maps)

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