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Measures proposed to improve police response time

Published : 10 Jul 2020, 02:51

Updated : 10 Jul 2020, 10:43

  DF Report

DF File Photo.

A working group appointed by the National Police Board has proposed that the police response time be calculated only for urgent emergency calls (category A), because these require rapid police intervention.

The working group submitted its proposal to Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo on Thursday, which recommended that in the future, the service-capacity time of the police would replace the category B emergency, said an official press release.

The work relates to the target set out in the Government Programme to define maximum police response times, in other words maximum response times for the whole of Finland, and to increase the presence and visibility of the authorities, particularly in areas with a lower level of service.

The police response time would be examined using a five-step model, in which municipalities would be divided into risk areas and maximum response times would be determined for them.

Instead of the targets based on current average response times, the calculation method would be the so-called 80 percentile. This means that in 80% of category A emergencies the police would arrive at the site within the maximum time limit for a specific risk area.

A police response time refers to the time from receiving a task to being ready to act at the site. For a number of years already, the police response time has been measured over the average target time and the actual time for both A and AB emergency duties. The response time is calculated as an average and expressed in minutes by urgency categories.

To achieve these objectives, the measures recommended by the working group include the establishment of a separate joint transport function for transporting prisoners and other detainees and for the use of district guard services, and for exploring possibilities to cooperate with air ambulance helicopter operators in police patrol-related transports in response to emergency alerts in sparsely populated areas.

Based on the working group’s view, its chair Mika Heinilä said the average response time per national and police units does not describe in the best possible way the response time in geographically different areas.

“In the future, the response time should be more informative so that citizens understand better how long the police response time is, for example, in their own area of residence,” said Heinilä.

Typically, there are fewer crimes and disturbances in sparsely populated areas requiring response from the police, but it takes longer to get help while the opposite is true in densely populated areas. The proposed model and the maximum response time based on it would ensure that people living in different areas would receive emergency services equally in relation to their needs and similar areas would be treated in the same way.

Due to their diversity and different operating environments, there are major variations in risk areas between cities and municipalities as to the actual response time. However, it is possible to reach the specified maximum response times in most cities and municipalities with existing resources.

“By improving efficiency and implementing the recommendations for measures proposed in the report, the maximum response times will be reached in all municipalities by the end of 2023. Heinilä said improving the proposed maximum response times in sparsely populated areas requires additional resources.”