Finland’s security business sector must be placed under greater scrutiny

by , under Enrique Tessieri

THE STORY WAS UPDATED

I always ask if the politician or public official will change anything or keep the status quo. The answer you may get offers rapid insight into the problem.

The security business scandal grew Thursday when a former Securitas manager is suspected of aggravated fraud in a fictitious case involving protection for a possible victim of an honor killing. The amount of money obtained fraudulently, together with a social worker of the Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), was “about three million euros,” according to MTV.

The alleged crime happened between November 2021 and September 2022. The suspect was detained for a month by the police and freed in November, but he is still a suspect.

The different shortcomings, even fatal as happened in Iso Omena on Saturday, of security companies, reveal a wider problem that has come to the public light thanks to the little scrutiny of the business.

It is a good matter that Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen wants a full investigation of the sector. “It is safe to say that these are not isolated cases, as there have been several recently,” she was quoted as saying in Yle.

Good start Minister Mikkonen but why do you make such a statement now? Didn’t you suspect anything before?

If we follow the news, some matters reveal themselves: downplaying the problem by the heads of Securitas, Jarmo Mikkonen, and Avarn Security, Niklas Saklén; (2) downplaying the problem by politicians like Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Mari Rantanen; (3) downplaying the problem by using the police and so-called “security experts” as sources by the media; (4) downplaying or not even citing ethnic profiling by security guards.

PS MP Rantanen, who heads the parliamentary administration committee, said in A-studio, that the scandal has surprised her and that we should not label all security workers.

“[y]ou should not be so quick to stigmatize the whole sector,” she said. “There are over 50,000 security employees and, given this, we must not end up stigmatizing these good young workers [in the A-studio clip] in the process.”

The statement by Rantanen, a firebrand MP, is odd considering her Islamophobic statements about the youth gang “problem,” which involves 100-200 youths, according to police estimates.

“You haven’t done any tightening of integration policies,” she said during a question-and-answer session of parliament with the government. “On the contrary, we will experience more massive migration [to Finland].”

Like the rest of her radical-right party, MP Rantanen labels all brown and black youths even if tens of thousands of these people study and work.

Jorge Marca is a security guard with 17 years of experience and understands some of the sector’s challenges.

“Better communication within the company, more training, psychological tests, and a raise in salary,” he said. “Another problem is that many security guards are students who work on weekends. For them, it is a part-time job.”

According to Marca, speaking peacefully with the person is the best way of avoiding problems.

“Grabbing a person by surprise by the arm may lead to a problem,” he continued. “My instant reaction would be to pull away from the guard’s grip. It could be seen by the guard that you are resisting, thus forcing an altercation [and ending handcuffed on the floor].”

UPDATE: Meanwhile, and some food for thought: The security sector scandals are robbing the PS’ thunder since the youth gang “violence” is no longer the number one topic of the media.