The Finnish Border Guard
Alternative name Border Guard
The Finnish Border Guard is a security authority functioning under the Ministry of the Interior. The purpose of the Border Guard’s operations is to maintain border security. The main functions of the Border Guard are to guard land borders and territorial waters, and carry out border checks of passenger traffic at land crossing points, harbours and airports, as well as perform rescue operations especially at sea. Activities are focused on the European Union’s external border in line with the Schengen agreement. The Border Guard engages in international cooperation for the purpose of maintaining border security.
The Finnish Border Guard leads maritime rescue operations and carries out searches and medical transports when needed. Tasks also include traffic surveillance on waterways and the prevention of damage to the marine environment. The Border Guard has up-to-date response equipment for oil and chemical pollution incidents. In marine areas, the Border Guard works closely with the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), the Finnish Defence Forces and environmental authorities.
The Finnish Border Guard has the legal authority to carry out preliminary investigations on cross-border crimes. These include crimes related to smuggling of and trafficking in persons as well as the facilitation of unauthorised entry. In addition, the Border Guard investigates other matters, such as state border violations, driving under the influence (both vehicles and watercraft), forgeries as well as environmental and natural resources offences.
In crime prevention the Finnish Border Guard works together with the Finnish Police and Customs. In practice, the Border Guard also carries out certain police tasks and is responsible for customs control at those border crossing points where Finnish Customs does not operate.
The Finnish Border Guard handles defence tasks in cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces. Border surveillance, that is patrolling land and sea perimeters, also monitors Finland’s territorial integrity. The Border Guard trains conscripts in border jaeger and special border jaeger companies. These conscript units are specialised in reconnaissance and guerrilla operations.