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Police special unit to tackle illegal animal rights activism set to be wound up

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The police in Finland look set to close down their special task force aimed against illegal animal rights activism. The unit was set up five years ago by the then Minister or the Interior Kari Rajamäki (SDP).
The Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior recognises that the special task force can be credited for the fact that the number of attacks by animal rights activists against fur farms has significantly declined in recent years.
      “The operation has been successful”, says police commissioner Robin Lardot from the Ministry of the Interior.
      The special unit has taught police commanders around the country how to prevent and investigate crimes committed by animal rights activists.
      Furthermore, the unit has distributed information to fur farmers on how to protect their property.
      The task force has also collected information about possible illegal activists, among other things by using concealed means of compulsion such as wiretapping.
      Still, illegal animal rights activism has not quite died out in Finland. Nowadays it is primarily targeted against fur and fashion shops in the form of vandalism and harassment.
      Over a year has nevertheless passed since the last attack against a fur farm.
The Provincial Police Department of Western Finland, under whose authority the four-person unit operates, no longer believes in its necessity.
      “The project to control illegal animal rights activism has achieved its objectives and its time is now over”, states Western Finland Provincial Police Commissioner Pertti Sihvonen, together with Chief Inspector Tarmo Lamminaho.
      The two are ready to close down the unit this year. The idea is that after this local police departments will deal with attacks by animal rights activists independently following the operation models created by the unit.
      Part of the special task force’s remit has also been the securing of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant construction site. This task looks set to be handed over to the Satakunta Police Department next year.
      The Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior together with the Province of Western Finland will decide on the fate of the special task force in the upcoming discussions.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Leaf-blower becomes precision-guided weapon for mink catchers in Porkkalanniemi (6.5.2008)
  Kokkola mink farm raid could cost EUR 300,000 in damage (24.9.2003)
  Nearly 8,000 mink released into wild late Sunday; most animals recovered (23.9.2003)

Helsingin Sanomat

  23.10.2008 - TODAY
 Police special unit to tackle illegal animal rights activism set to be wound up

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