Criminal matters involving the police
In matters involving offences suspected to have been committed by police officers, the prosecutor handles the case from the pre-trial investigation stage all the way to the court proceedings. When a police officer is the subject of a criminal investigation, the prosecutor will exceptionally act as the head of the investigation during pre-trial investigation unlike a pre-trial investigation authority as in other criminal matters. If the offence suspected to have been committed by a police officer was committed off duty, however, the prosecutor may at his or her discretion allow a pre-trial investigation authority to conduct the pre-trial investigation.
Nationwide, around 20 specially trained prosecutors act as heads of the investigation in criminal matters involving the police. A prosecutor acting as the head of the investigation will not continue handling the case after the pre-trial investigation; the consideration of charges is carried out by a different prosecutor.
Police Misconduct Unit
Approximately 800-900 reports of crimes involving the police are filed annually. These crimes are initially processed in the Police Misconduct Unit located within the Office of the Prosecutor General. The Unit includes prosecutors acting as heads of investigation in criminal matters involving the police on a full-time basis and police officers who provide assistance.
Where it can be quickly established that there is no reason to suspect a crime, a decision is made by the prosecutors in charge of investigation in the Police Misconduct Unit to waive pre-trial investigation. In other cases, the matter will be transferred to the district prosecutor in charge of the investigation. He or she will assess whether prerequisites exist for conducting a pre-trial investigation. The prosecutor in charge of the investigation will, if necessary, conduct a pre-trial investigation assisted by police officers assigned to the role.
Heads of investigation in the Police Misconduct Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor General may likewise head an investigation in matters involving the initiation of a pre-trial investigation.
Before a decision is made as to whether to begin a pre-trial investigation, a preliminary investigation will be conducted, where appropriate. The matter will be investigated on a preliminary basis to ensure that no one is deemed a suspect without due cause. During a preliminary investigation, documentation may be obtained from police files, or the police officer who is the subject of a report may asked to provide a response to the report of a criminal offence.
Annual reports on police misconduct investigations
Available in Finnish only.
Inquiries about decisions made by the Police Misconduct Unit
For specific decisions on investigation decisions on criminal matters involving the police, please contact the Unit directly at tutkinta.valtakunnansyyttaja.syyttaja(at)oikeus.fi. Please submit a request for information if you require more extensive material.
Requests for information can be emailed to the Office of the Prosecutor General at valtakunnansyyttaja.syyttaja(at)oikeus.fi. If the retrieval of information is time consuming, a charge may be made for sending the material. (Decree of the Ministry of Justice) The price will be indicated in the reply to the request.
Other material relating to a criminal matter involving the police may be ordered from the police department that conducted the investigation, as this material is not achieved by the National Prosecution Authority.