Finland's "food police" crack down on doughnut-chomping cops

Ditch the donuts and go for healthy treats or homemade snacks. Two police recruits claim to have rewritten the recipe for officers to get through demanding night shifts – and stay healthy in the bargain.

During their training, two young police recruits noticed that fellow officers were given to wolfing down fast foods like kebabs and burgers – and that their bodies suffered as a result - writes

Niilo Nieminen and Tony Johansson decided to do something about curbing their peers’ appetite for meals with low nutritional value. They put pen to paper and came up with a guidebook titled “Nutritional guide for police on night shifts”.

The online manual had hardly been published before they noticed that Nieminen had already been tagged the “food police”.

Nieminen says he wears the nickname with pride, because in his view the guidebook has been successful. In future every new police trainee will receive a copy of the handbook, the first of its kind to be distributed in the entire police organisation. So far, Nieminen said, the reception has been positive.

“When we began our 10 months of on-the-job training in December 2016, it wasn’t long before we noticed that night shifts mess with your body. After a couple of months we decided to do this,” he explained.

Kebabs all round

One problem that officers working the 12-hour shifts face is the fact that meal breaks are few and far between. That means when they finally have a chance to eat, they over-indulge. On top of that, very often the only diners open are fast food outlets.

During the training period, the recruits realised that they performed better during the night shift if they managed to prepare their own meals to take to work. However up to one-quarter of field officers admitted to frequenting fast food restaurants on their graveyard shifts.

”Of course people go there on weekends. You notice that the more you bring home-cooked meals and the less you eat fast food, the better you perform,” Nieminen observed.

Other police academy students have pointed out that their patrol partners’ eating habits can be contagious and the temptation to grab a fast meal grows if a senior officer decides to order a pizza, for example.

“If your patrol partner wants to go for a kebab, you almost have to go along as well,” said one student.

Skip the doughnuts, pack the snacks

The young officers’ guide offers no guidance on donuts, often associated with police work through endless references in popular culture. They pointed out that incoming constables do not necessarily have the same kind of sweet tooth as officers who joined the force decades ago. However for police officers who get late night munchies, they recommend snacking on fruit and quark.

They also suggest stashing the patrol car with other goodies such as protein and snack bars, protein drinks and dried fruit and nuts. Nieminen had another tip for incoming officers who might find it hard to exercise restrain when mealtimes come around.

“It’s best not to eat your money’s worth at restaurants even if you have the time and can take as much as you want. It’s quite hard to run on a full stomach,” he advised.

Food cop Nieminen said that he hopes that the nutrition manual will also become reading material for veteran field officers, but he said he is not sure how to make this happen. For now around 200 copies of the guide have been printed for distribution to students in the next three course intake groups.

“The guide primarily targets students beginning their on-the-job training, because it’s easier to influence young people. They have not yet formed bad eating habits.”

Read more news of Helsinki on our site.
Finland foodpolice doughnut-chompingcops
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....