Romanian police officer on assignment checks ships and interprets in Helsinki
The work of the Finnish police has become easier thanks to the help provided by an officer sent from Romania
By Jarkko Hakala
A policeman sent to Finland from Romania has begun his work in Helsinki.
”I am very satisfied. He is competent, skilled in languages, a good choice, and just what we have been hoping for”, enthuses Det. Insp. Kari Niinimäki from the Helsinki Police Department.
The Romanian officer’s main job is to participate in investigations into crimes against property that the migrant Roma are suspected of having committed. However, he will assist the Finnish police even in other matters when necessary.
According to Niinimäki, the policeman has already improved the information flow between Bucharest and Helsinki.
In addition to the fact that information now travels faster than previously, it is also of better qulaity.
Besides, information can be asked for more readily than before.
However, the Romanian policeman is not authorised to serve as a police officer in Finland and he can act only at the request of the local police.
He acts as an expert who can for example take part in house searches and interrogations.
The seconded policeman has been present for example at random checks, which the police have carried out at harbours in order to determine whether the arriving immigrants have everything in order.
In addition, the officer has interviewed those Roma who have been apprehended, explaining to them what is happening. This has made investigations easier.
Thanks to him, Finnish police are no longer so dependent on the schedules of official interpreters whom the police have to order up.
”He saves our time in many ways, giving us scope to act. We are thinking every day about what else we could do better together”, Niinimäki notes.
The Romanian policeman has given a negative answer to all media requests for interviews.
”He has been considering the matter in peace and quiet, discussing it also with his own superiors back home. The final result is that he does not intend to appear in public”, Niinimäki reports.
The police officer, who arrived here at the beginning of June, is to work in Finland and assisting the Finnish police until the end of August.
One of the most recent investigations involving Roma and conducted by the Helsinki Police Department has concerned suspicions of trafficking in humans.
The Swedish-language newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reported on Sunday that men wearing suits driving expensive cars have been seen in front of the service centre set up for the Roma in Helsinki, collecting money from the beggars. Minority Ombudsman Eva Biaudet and the police saw clear indications of human trafficking in this.
However, Detective Superintendent Petri Rainiala from the Helsinki Police Department estimates that the mere fact that a man driving a BMW has received money from a migrant Roma is not a very significant indication of human trafficking.
According to Rainiala, the fact that the Roma are living in poor social conditions does not automatically make them victims of human trafficking.
Rainiala notes that the police have taken note of the reported case, but for the time being it does not exceed the threshold for a preliminary investigation.
He estimates that it is just a typical way of handling money in Roma culture.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 19.6.2012
Previously in HS International Edition:
Minority Ombudsman calls for investigation of possible human trafficking among Roma beggars (18.6.2012)
Stubb discusses Schengen, Roma beggars during visit to Romania (4.4.2012)
What to do about the foreign Roma? (30.3.2011)
JARKKO HAKALA / Helsingin Sanomat