Finnish first responders to get bulletproof vests as risk of violence increases

The interior ministry says Finland's emergency services personnel should be issued with bulletproof vests and helmets, after a risk assessment suggested that the threat of violence is increasing.

Finland’s Ministry of Interior has instructed regional rescue departments to equip their emergency services staff with bulletproof vests and helmets - writes

According to the ministry's risk evaluation, authorities face more violence than before and the threat of physical harm has risen in Europe, including Finland.

"Increasingly often rescue department staff ends up in situations where they are met with unforeseen violence," says director-general Esko Koskinen from the interior ministry, who cited August's knife attack in Turku as one indication of an increased threat.

"Events in Turku are a part of the European reality. Now that this [phenomenon] has reached Finland it’s our conclusion that we need to be prepared on time," he adds.

Vests prove useful in Helsinki once a week

First responder teams at Helsinki’s main emergency services station in Kallio already wear anti-stabbing vests.

"Recently, the emergency staff visited a patient who threatened them with a knife. The first responders had to flee to the ambulance and lock the doors. Luckily, the situation ended peacefully," says Jorma Riihelä from the emergency services station in Helsinki.

Uniform to be worn on duty only

The ministry also recommends that emergency services staff refrain from wearing uniforms off-duty, especially when taking public transportation.

"There have been several incidents in Europe where uniformed personnel, in particular members of the police or defense forces, have become targets of a violent attack," says Koskinen.

"We want to be ready in advance were something like that to happen here."

Read also more news of Helsinki here.
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