Open public discussion about sex crimes has resulted in an up-tick in the number of rapes and sexual assaults reported to law enforcement officials in Finland.
The Police of Finland has reported that it recorded more than 600 reports of rapes and aggravated rapes between January and June, a number that represents an increase of 23 per cent from the corresponding period last year.
“The open discussion about sex crimes, in particular, has lowered the reporting threshold,” analyses National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen.
“Improvements in the rights and position of crime victims and the possibility to receive support and assistance have also encouraged people to report crimes,” he adds in a press release issued on Tuesday.
Kolehmainen is referring to a legislative amendment introduced last year that obliges police officers to refer crime victims to assistance programmes and take into account their need for protection in investigative and legal processes.
The Police of Finland also reported that the number of foreign nationals suspected of offences decreased by roughly five per cent year-on-year in the first half of the year. Foreign nationals, however, remain overrepresented in certain types of offences, accounting for 27 per cent of all rape suspects.
The identity of the suspect remains unknown in over a quarter of the rapes reported between January and June, according to the press release.
The number of drug offences has also been on the rise in Finland. The rise presents new challenges to law enforcement authorities especially because narcotics are distributed increasingly through anonymous online marketplaces and because drug smuggling operations are increasingly international – as evidenced by the relatively high share of foreign nationals suspected of aggravated drug offences.
The Police of Finland revealed that, in spite of the challenges, its total crime clearance rate has improved from the previous year.
“Police have invested in developing investigative processes and increasing the efficiency of investigations. The pre-processing of basic investigations, for example, has been harmonised in accordance with the strategy of the police, which has facilitated the prioritisation of cases,” comments Kolehmainen.
“The efforts introduced and to be introduced at police departments are expected to raise clearance rates,” he tells.
Another key factor according to the press release have been investments in developing the capabilities to prevent cyber crime.
The Police of Finland also conceded that pre-trial investigations continue to drag on excessively. One of the objectives of the ongoing development efforts, it reminds, is to expedite pre-trial investigations.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva