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Thu, 12 Feb, 2015 12:27:50 AM
Aarnio’s suspicions affect people’s perception
FTimes – STT Report, Feb 12

More people than ever have the perception that there is a probability of corruption or unethical behaviour in the police, according to the police barometer survey 2014.

The survey reports published on Wednesday said 42 per cent of the respondents believe in the possibility of corruption in the police, which is much higher than the survey results in 2012.

The survey studied Finnish public opinion on the role and services of the police, feelings about safety and security, fear of crime, experiences of crime, and trust in the national institutions in crime prevention.

In the survey of 2012, the proportion of respondents who admitted that corruption in the police was likely accounted to 27 per cent.

According to the barometer 2014, confidence in the ability of the police to ensure general safety, however, remained almost at the 2012 level.

National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero termed the survey results astonishingly good under the present circumstances.

Paatero said confidence in police work seemed to have been restored, despite the police being subject to public tirade following Jari Aarnio suspicions.

The police boss said police work is appreciated in the country and the public are able to see beyond an isolated incident.

The survey respondents also believe that the police are still the most important security body in preventing crime and improvement of security in local communities.

Police reliability in fire and rescue services also went up.

Both Paatero and Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen consider it clear that Aarnio’s case had an influence on people’s perception of the police.

The minister said the bribery suspicions and the subsequent massive publicity which the case received could erode confidence in the police.

Räsänen added that the ongoing trial shows that the suspicions are taken seriously and they will not be covered under the mat.

Paatero said it is important that the judicial process proceeds quickly, as the prolonged uncertainty is eroding confidence.

The trial of Jari Aarnio, former chief of Helsinki police drug unit, began in January and is expected to continue for three months. Aarnio maintains his innocence.

Aarnio was arrested on November 12, 2013 on charges of crimes including taking bribes from a private company.

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