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Finnish and Estonian police agree to closer cooperation in fighting organised crime

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Finland and Estonia signed an agreement on Monday aimed at closer cooperation between law enforcement authorities of the countries. The agreement allows for the establishment of common crime investigation groups.
      "Previously we would submit a request for assistance, which would be translated into Estonian and sent forward. Then we would get an answer. Now we are working as a single group with our Estonian colleagues", says National Police Commissioner Markku Salminen.
      The new system is specifically aimed at fighting organised crime.
The need for closer cooperation stems from Estonia's membership in the Schengen treaty, which has eliminated border formalities for travel between Estonia and other signatories for travellers arriving by ship and overland. The change will apply to airports from the end of March.
      In 2006 nearly 1,500 wanted criminals were caught at the border - mostly petty criminals.
      Salminen notes that the police want to focus on serious cases in connection with border surveillance.
Estonia is also implementing the Finnish model of closer cooperation between the country's police force and border guard.
      To this end, a separate analysis centre is to be set up in Tallinn, where all information is to be collected in one location. The Estonian analysis centre will work together with the corresponding Finnish institution.
      For instance, there will be more sharing of DNA information.
      Estonia's Chief of Police Raivo Aeg feels that trust is the most important issue in cooperation.
      "Information needs to be passed on to the neighbour actively.", he said.
One tactic is to keep convicted criminals incarcerated in their home countries.
      The purpose of this is to prevent international networking of criminal organisations which sometimes takes place when convicts from different countries are held in the same prison.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Sharing DNA information with Estonia helps Finnish crime investigators (4.1.2008)
  Schengen treaty eliminates border formalities between Finland and Estonia (21.12.2007)

Helsingin Sanomat

  29.1.2008 - TODAY
 Finnish and Estonian police agree to closer cooperation in fighting organised crime

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