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Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen is in charge of the Ministry of the Interior. She handles matters covered by the Police Department, Department for Rescue Services, Border Guard Department and the Migration Department. Ms Räsänen also deals with matters covered by the units directly under the Permanent Secretary, and church affairs, which fall under the Ministry of Education and Culture.

This spring the European Emergency Number Association, EENA, rewarded Finland for its outstanding national 112 system. The award means that Finland currently has the best emergency services system in Europe. What made the award even more special was that emergency services organisations from across Europe voted in this competition.

Finnish emergency response centres are in a league of their own. Response times for emergency calls have been excellent for years. Finland is one of the top countries in Europe for awareness-raising, with 96 per cent of the population knowing the 112 number; the European 112 Day, now marked across Europe, is originally a Finnish idea.

Our 112 service has gone through major changes over the last ten years. Operational statistical data and practical experience have informed improvements to the service, new guidance has been issued and our technology has been brought bang up to date. We have worked closely with the different authorities involved in emergency response. The overall structure of the Emergency Response Centre Administration has been overhauled to better meet the operational challenges of today’s world. The purpose of the present restructuring is to harmonise emergency response centre operations and improve their efficiency, maintain the coverage and quality of services throughout the country, ensure that those in need get help as quickly as possible, and improve cooperation throughout the chain of actors providing the 112 service.

Finland currently has the best emergency services system in Europe.

Finland’s strength lies in the fact that the police, rescue services and social and health services have a single joint emergency response centre system and one common emergency number 112. This way, people do not need to guess what number to call in an emergency. We in Finland take this 112 service for granted but the same cannot yet be said for everywhere else in Europe.

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