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Finnish Government

Changes proposed to police intelligence gathering methods

Finnish Government

Ministry of the Interior

The provisions of the Police Act on secret intelligence gathering methods and apprehending wanted persons are to be updated and clarified. The Government submitted its proposal to Parliament on 17 November.

The legislative proposal is related to the Government's earlier proposal to Parliament to amend the Coercive Measures Act and the Criminal Investigation Act. The overall aim is to improve the efficiency of criminal investigation.

The provisions on apprehension of wanted persons would be clarified so that the provisions would also apply to persons other than wanted persons who have been ordered by a court to be brought to court, to be remanded or to be taken into custody.

Intelligence gathering methods could be used to prevent more crimes

The police could use covert intelligence gathering in an information network to prevent crimes. Covert intelligence gathering means short-term intelligence gathering in which the police may use false, misleading or disguised information.

In future, authorisation for telecommunications interception and data traffic monitoring would not be restricted only to certain network addresses and terminal equipment that were known at the time the authorisation was applied for.

The use of surplus information would be possible in the investigation of certain new offences for which the most severe punishment is more than two years. Surplus information means information obtained by telecommunications interception, data traffic monitoring, collecting base station data and technical surveillance that is not related to an offence or averting a danger, or that concerns an offence other than the one for the prevention or detection of which the intelligence gathering method has been used. The information could be used for purposes such as investigating the giving of a bribe or investigating a narcotics offence if the use of surplus information would be of particular importance for investigating the offence.

Undercover activities could be used to prevent homicides

The current type of additional requirements for the use of undercover activities would not apply if intelligence gathering were being used to prevent a homicide. The police could use undercover activities to prevent a single homicide. The use of undercover activities would no longer require that criminal activity must be planned, organised or professional or involve the likelihood that it will continue or be repeated.

The Act is scheduled to enter into force approximately six months after its approval.

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