Internal security and safety in Finland

2019-01-23 15:58

Press release by the Ministry of the Interior 23.1.2019

A comprehensive assessment of Finland’s internal security and safety has been completed. The assessment was prepared in cooperation between the Ministry of the Interior, other authorities and stakeholders. The Review of Finland’s Internal Security and Safety brings together up-to-date information about the factors affecting security and safety from the standpoint of the population at large.

"This report now gives us a good overall picture of people’s everyday safety and security and of the factors which affect them the most. A recent example is sexual offences. The number of such offences that have been reported has clearly increased in recent years. Therefore, a growing number of cases come to the attention of the authorities and the offenders are brought to justice. In sexual and intimate partner violence, there is, however, a lot of hidden crime that must be tackled more effectively," said Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen at a national security seminar in Kuopio where the Review was published on 23 January.

The Review focuses on four key areas of internal security: sense of security and access to assistance; crime; accidents and injuries; and stability and social harmony. The statistics compiled in the report and international comparisons show that Finland is the safest country in the world.

Finland has become much safer and more secure over time. For example, the likelihood of falling victim to homicide was more than twice as high in the 1980s than today. The number of road fatalities has fallen by almost half over the past ten years. In addition, the number of fires and fire deaths has fallen sharply during the current decade.

A statistically insignificant matter may still be of great significance to society

The sense of security is mostly affected by the number and visibility of crimes, accidents and incidents, and how quickly and easily you get help when you need it. Home and leisure accidents are the fourth greatest cause of fatalities every year, but they have a limited impact on the sense of security.

"The change in people’s sense of security does not follow the positive statistical trend. Various unknown threats, such as street violence and fear of terrorism, increase the sense of insecurity although the statistical likelihood is low," said Permanent Secretary Ilkka Salmi from the Ministry of the Interior.

The speed and openness of information provision have made people more aware of various threats.

"In various forums, there are views that can undermine trust in the authorities and that differ from evidence-based information, and this increases the feeling of insecurity. One of the objectives of the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government is a stronger, firmer sense of security that is based on real information," said Permanent Secretary Salmi.

Challenges posed by climate change, ageing of the population and technological advances

According to estimates, alcohol and drugs continue to be the main reasons for violence in Finland in future too. A low socio-economic status increases the risk of becoming an offender or a victim of crime. If social exclusion and polarisation cannot be reduced, violent acts based on tensions between different population groups are likely to increase. Success in handling migration issues also has an impact on internal security and safety.

Large systemic changes, such as climate change, the ageing of the population and technological advances, have the greatest impact on safety and security. For example, thanks to new technology, traffic safety will improve, but at the same time an increasingly significant share of crime is committed in information networks. Greater attention needs to be paid to safety and security of elderly people both in cities and in sparsely populated areas. Extreme weather events present new challenges. Anticipating these developments and sharing information are an essential part of the work of the security authorities.

The Review of Finland’s Internal Security and Safety is part of the implementation of the Government’s Internal Security Strategy.

The Ministry of the Interior’s vision is that Finland will be the safest country in the world and equally safe for all in 2030.

 Review of Finland’s Internal Security and Safety (in Finnish)

Ministry of the Interior, Finland


Topic:
  • Public safety