Drug squad members suspect "informers" were from national police unit
Members of the drugs unit of the Helsinki police facing suspicion of malfeasance, suspect that members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were behind the reports that led to the ongoing criminal investigation against them.
Jari Aarnio, chief of the drug squad, said on Tuesday that the drug police do not know where the reports against them originate, but that scattered information suggests that the informers are members of the NBI.
Aarnio added that he felt that it was strange that the team of investigators named to look into the suspected wrongdoing by the drug police includes NBI officers, and he said that the six other suspects agree.
"It seems odd if people first make accusations, and then investigate them", Aarnio says. "However, I do not want to take a stand on individual policemen and their possible conflicts of interest", he added.
Aarnio also pointed out that as a suspect in a crime, he does not have the right to influence the composition of the investigation team.
During Tuesday's budget debate in Parliament, Minister of the Interior Anne Holmlund (Nat. Coalition Party) promised that the matter would be thoroughly examined at the ministry, and hoped for rapid action.
The head of the investigation, State Prosecutor Ari-Pekka Koivisto, published the names of his group on Tuesday.
The deputy head of the investigation will be Mika Appelsin, District Prosecutor of East Uusimaa. Investigators will include Juha Henttala of the Vantaa police, Tapio Kulmala of the Lahti police, Jorma Posti of the Espoo police, and Jorma Hautala of the NBI.
Koivisto insists that his group is free of any conflict of interest in the investigation.
The suspicions involve allegations that members of the drug squad had established an excessively close working relationshhip with certain criminal elements.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Police bust massive drug ring in Helsinki region (29.9.2007)
Interior Ministry and police administration deny drug squad claims of persecution (11.12.2007)
Drug police sick-leaves encumber investigations of serious drug crimes (11.12.2007)
Helsinki police commander demands immediate launch of investigation into drug police activities (17.12.2007)