National Police Commissioner Mikko PaateroOn Friday, the District Court of Helsinki detained the chief of Helsinki Police's drug squad on suspicion of aggravated drug offences.

“THE UPPERMOST feeling is that such grave suspicions are tragic,” Mikko Paatero, the National Police Commissioner, commented on the most recent developments in the ongoing investigation into the activities of Jari Aarnio, the chief of Helsinki Police's drug squad.

Aarnio was on Friday detained on suspicion of four counts of aggravated drug offences by the District Court of Helsinki. The new suspicions came as a surprise to Paatero, who emphasised the significance of leaving no stone unturned in the investigation.

“We must look into everything related to the case,” he stated on Friday.

According to Paatero, the situation is further complicated by the fact that an investigation into misconduct allegations against four subordinates of Aarnio has also been launched. “The Helsinki Police Department must surely consider the capacity of the [drug] squad and the need for any measures.”

In addition, Paatero underlined that all decisions regarding the operations of the drug squad are taken solely by the Helsinki Police Department.

Päivi Räsänen (Christian Democrats), the Minister of the Interior, characterised the new revelations as serious and regrettable in an interview with STT.

The new suspicions, prosecutor Jukka Haavisto revealed on Friday, have surfaced in the course of the investigation. Aarnio was first interrogated in relation to the new suspicions on Friday morning, Haavisto, who is in charge of the investigation, also said.

According to Riitta Leppiniemi, Aarnio's defence counsel, the drug offence suspicions are linked to a joint operation by the Helsinki drug squad and the National Bureau of Investigation. “The investigation revealed some disagreements, which have since been considered by personnel at the commands of these departments,” Leppiniemi said.

The matter, she added, is related to the use of informants.

Helsinki Police's head of communications Juha Hakola insisted on Friday that it remains too early to comment on the accusations against the other officers.

“The case linked to Aarnio is very serious and the command of the police department will provide its full support to investigators to ensure the matter is investigated thoroughly,” Jukka Riikonen, the chief of the Helsinki Police Department, asserted in a press release.

Helsingin Sanomat
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
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Photo: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva