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Proposal for free provision of executive assistance to child welfare and social and crisis emergency services by the police

Ministry of the Interior
18.2.2021 14.46 | Published in English on 19.2.2021 at 13.03
Press release
A child and an adult walking hand in hand.

The Ministry of the Interior has prepared a proposal on changing the decree on fees charged by the police. The starting point for the proposal is that the provision of executive assistance provided to child welfare and social and crisis emergency services by the police would be free of charge in the futur. The aim is to guarantee that the most vulnerable individuals, such as children, will receive the required assistance in acute situations.

The police charge a fee for executive assistance, excluding separately decreed exceptions. The fee covers the costs arising from the executive assistance. This fee is currently collected also for the executive assistance provided to the child welfare authorities and social and crisis emergency services.

“We are concerned that the child welfare and social and crisis emergency services would not ask for necessary executive assistance due to its costs, which could mean a delay in assistance to people in a vulnerable position. We want to make sure that this will not happen,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.

The fees for executive assistance provided by the police are regulated in the Ministry of the Interior’s decree on fees for police services issued in 2021. The Ministry of the Interior’s decree is based on the Act on Criteria for Charges Payable to the State.

The National Police Board issued instructions concerning the operative executive assistance provided by the police and its invoicing practices which entered into force in October 2020. The previously laid down decree on fees was brought up again in these instructions. After this, the police departments started to collect fees in a more harmonised manner – including for the executive assistance provided to the child welfare and social and emergency services.

Aim is to secure access to assistance for vulnerable individuals in particular

The Ministry of the Interior has prepared a proposal on changing the decree on fees charged by the police. The starting point for the proposal is that the provision of executive assistance provided to child welfare and social and crisis emergency services by the police would be free of charge in the future.

“We aim to guarantee that the most vulnerable individuals, such as children, will receive the required assistance in acute situations. When taking care of this task, the child welfare authorities and social and crisis emergency services sometimes need executive assistance from the police. After this change, there will be no need for the practitioner to consider the costs of the executive assistance related to these often serious and urgent tasks,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.

During the preparation, the relation between payment for executive assistance provided to the child welfare authorities and social and crisis emergency services by the police and Laki eräiden poliisin virka-apukustannusten korvaamisesta (Act on compensating certain costs related to executive assistance provided by the police, 259/1956) was reviewed. However, the Act entered into force in 1956 and its content is outdated in many places.

The proposal will next be circulated for statements. The parties providing statements are requested to pay attention to the aforementioned Act. After the round for statements, the preparations proceed as usual to enact the amendment to the regulation. 

The police incur costs while providing executive assistance

According to the current decree on fees, a fee in accordance with the absorption cost should be collected for the executive assistance provided by the police. In practice, this means a payment which covers the costs arising, for example, from police work and the wear and tear of equipment. Other authorities also perform duties which are subject to a charge.

According to the proposal, a cost price would not be collected for the executive assistance provided to the child welfare authorities and social and crisis emergency services by the police. This would exempt the municipality from the payment obligation concerning the executive assistance provided to the child welfare and social and crisis emergency services.

However, if the costs arising from the executive assistance were to be paid solely by the police, this would weaken the police’s ability to perform their statutory duties. Therefore, the draft to be circulated for comments proposes that the share not covered by the police, i.e. the costs arising from the executive assistance, will be reimbursed for the police. It is the normal practice for the costs of providing a service to be borne by the agency, in this case, the police.

Cooperation between authorities is not executive assistance

The police annually perform approximately 70,000 executive assistance tasks regarding the support offered to different authorities and parties. Simultaneously, the police are responsible for maintaining public order and safety as well as investigating and preventing crimes.

In order for the police to perform their statutory duties, it is important that executive assistance is requested from the police only when absolutely necessary. Therefore, the requesting authority’s own actions, resources and competence must be arranged so that it does not regularly rely on executive assistance to perform its core tasks.

The Ministry of the Interior emphasises that authorities cooperating with each other is not considered executive assistance.

Further information:
Heidi Kankainen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 335
Sameli Sivonen, Special Adviser (ministerial interview requests), tel. +358 50 406 6855
 

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