Tuesday 8/4/20

Alcohol and drugs, the main causes of violence in Finland

"In sexual and intimate partner violence there is a lot of hidden crime that must be tackled more effectively", the minister of the Interior remarked

Alcohol and drugs, the main causes of violence in Finland

The Finnish Government has announced the completion of a process of "comprehensive evaluation" of the internal security of the country.

This revision has been carried out in collaboration between the Ministry of the Interior and other authorities and organisations. The test summarises the available updated information about the factors that affect safety from the point of view of general population.

According to the information published by the Finnish Ministry of Interior, “alcohol and drugs continue to be the main reasons for violence in Finland” and they are expected to be “in the future too”. The release stresses also that “a low socio-economic status increases the risk of becoming an offender or a victim of a crime”.

The impact of migration and social exclusion

The authors of the report estimate that if social exclusion and polarisation cannot be reduced, then “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”, remarks the Ministry of Interior.

The assessment also identifies several “large systemic changes” with great impact on security, such as climate change, the ageing of the population and technological advances.

In relation to the latter, the Ministry of the Interior highlights how technology may sometimes cause some conflicting effects. 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.

Sexual offences

At a national security seminar in Kuopio where the review was published on 23 January, the minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen said that “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”.

According to Mykkänen’s assessment, “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”, he said.

However the minister of the Interior acknowledges that there are still areas in which safety and security must be improved. “In sexual and intimate partner violence there is, however, a lot of hidden crime that must be tackled more effectively”, Mykkänen remarked at the national security seminar.

More secure over time

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, informs the press release.

The number of road fatalities has also 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.

The sense of security is mostly affected by the number and visibility of crimes, accidents and incidents, and how quickly and easily help is available. In this sense, it is remarkable that home and leisure accidents are the fourth greatest cause of fatalities every year, but they still have a limited impact on the sense of security.

The effect of information openness and speed

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

"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.

"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.

The review of Finland’s Internal Security is part of the implementation of the Government’s Internal Security Strategy and focuses on four key areas: sense of security and access to assistance; crime; accidents and injuries; stability and social harmony.

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