The Finnish National Police Commissioner, Mikko Paatero, on shifting decisions on search warrants to the courts:
Well heaven forbid that the Finnish police would be forced into obtaining a search warrant from a judge first, before barging into an individual’s home. Here in Finland the meaning of “probable cause” is indeed a foreign concept. The Tundra Tabloids has been stopped on one too many occasions by the police in Finland’s annual drunk driving campaigns in which your forced to stop and have an alcohol analyzer tube shoved into your mouth and blow.
They stop you randomly, so it’s not actual suspicion of driving while drunk, but suspicion that you might be driving while drunk. There’s no probable cause involved at all.
It’s state sanctioned rape (rape has to do with power over the weak victim) and the TT has let each and every officer administering the test know just how much of a rape it is, and how they’re violating civil liberties. It’s disgusting. So it comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever that presently, the Finnish police can barge into your home without the obtaining a search warrant from a local judge. The nations top cop is more worried about bureaucracy than about civil liberties being violated. Typical. KGS
Debate over Police Search Powers
The broad powers enjoyed by Finnish police to carry out searches of homes are coming under fire. In Finland, police can decide when and where searches are carried out. Elsewhere in Europe police need a search warrant from a judge or a public prosecutor.
Police in Finland carry out around 14,000 searches of homes a year. By European standards, the procedure is unusual in that police officials themselves issue search warrants.
Critics: too much power
Markku Fredman, a lawyer known for his work in human rights cases, considers the situation in Finland as odd.
“Here, a decision on carrying out a search is made by a police inspector or higher ranking police officer. No one can even question afterwards in court if there was actually reasonable cause for a search or not,” explains Fredman. “Elsewhere in Europe, the assumption is that ultimately these kinds of things are decided by a court.”
Jacob Söderman, an MP who has been the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the EU’s European Ombudsman agrees that the policy is too slack.
“The police administration is used to a relatively easy and unofficial search procedure. The threshold for searches should absolutely be raised,” says Söderman. “Since they are used to it, the threshold is too low, searches are carried out too often.”
Police: more bureaucracy won’t help
National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero is afraid that shifting decisions on search warrants to the courts would only increase bureaucracy.
“If the courts were included in decision making, what would happen to the percentage of crimes solved? At least it would not get better than it is,” argues Paatero.
Paatero admits that excesses do occur. Police have even been known to show up at the wrong door.
“There are bound to have been isolated incidents, it is useless to deny it. Police are people, too. However, I believe that with training and supervision, any problems will remain under control,” says Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero.