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Concepts and definitions

Burglary

Theft, aggravated theft or petty theft committed by means of unlawful intrusion

Coercive measure

Coercive measures are often divided into three groups: those against a person, those against property and coercive measures ordered by a court of justice. Coercive measures ordered by a court of justice are indicated in the statistics by the letter O after the acronym of the coercive measure. Telecommunications interception, traffic data monitoring and technical surveillance (Section 5a of the Coercive Measures Act 646/2003) are not included in these statistics.

Some of the cases entered in statistics as coercive measures, such as restraining orders and business prohibitions are of the warrant-type (warrants of apprehension), which lead to actions, should they be violated.

Coercive measures are provided for in the Coercive Measures Act (806/2011). In addition, apprehension is provided for in the Police Act (so-called apprehension based on the Police Act). Coercive measures against foreign nationals in special circumstances (e.g. formalities in connection with entry into the country or refugee status) are provided for in the Aliens Act.

The grounds for the coercive measure, the legal general grounds for the coercive measure (one or more) are recorded in the coercive measure decision.

Coercive measures against a person's liberty may also rest on special grounds (one or more). One typical instance of special grounds is that there is reason to fear that the person suspected of being guilty absconds.

Statistics Finland does not compile statistics on covert coercive measures, such as coercive measures affecting telecommunications or coercive measures of the surveillance type.

Complainant

In the statistics on coercive measures, the complainant is not necessarily the actual victim of the offence. A person deceased as a result of an offence or an event leading to an investigation is recorded in the PATJA system sometimes as other than the complainant and the beneficiaries of the deceased person are recorded as the complainant. In offences against minors, the guardian of the actual victim is also usually recorded as the complainant.

Custody period

The custody period is the period of time a person is apprehended, arrested or remanded on the basis of a coercive measure. The days of apprehension or arrest are counted in hours and the days of remand on the basis of dates.

Hidden crime

An offence which is not reported to the police and hence not registered as an offence.

Most aggravated offence

The most aggravated offence, or the so-called principal offence, committed by the suspect during the statistical year. The degree of seriousness of an offence is determined on the basis of the sentence given for an offence, for example.

Offence known to the authorities

A matter recorded in the police information system as an offence. The offence may have become known to the police, customs or border guard either as a report or in connection with another investigation. The offence is recorded in the statistics for the year in which it becomes known to the authorities. An offence refers to an act for which a punishment is decreed in legislation. The task of the police, customs and border guard is to investigate the offence, conduct a pre-trial investigation and transfer the solved offence to the prosecutor for consideration. In more lenient cases, the offence may be left unreported to the prosecutor on the grounds laid down in law. The statistical unit used is an offence. If several persons have taken part in the same offence together, the number of offences recorded is one. If several similar offences are committed at the same time, several of these offences can be recorded. The offence is recorded based on the municipality where the offence occurred. The offence may also have taken place abroad and a report of it is recorded if the police, customs or border guard have jurisdiction in the matter and the offence has concerned (as a suspect or victim) a Finnish citizen, a person permanently resident in Finland or a Finnish legal person.

Offence known to the police

A matter entered into the police information system as an offence.

Offences reported to the prosecutor

The task of the police, customs and border guard is to investigate the offence, conduct a pre-trial investigation and transfer the solved offence to the prosecutor for consideration. In more lenient cases, the offence may be left unreported to the prosecutor on the grounds laid down in law.

Parking fine

A fine imposed for breaking prohibitions and limitations on the stopping and parking of vehicles and provisions on the use of a parking disc. Such a fine can also be imposed on grounds of unnecessary idling of motor vehicles.

These fines are imposed by the police or if the municipality is responsible for supervision, also by municipal parking inspectors or their assistants. A parking offence for which a parking fine or a caution has been imposed is not registered as an offence.

Percentage of offences solved

This figure indicates how many per cent of all offences which became known during a statistical year are solved offences. Therefore, the figure may be higher than 100.

Solved offence

An offence known to the authorities (police, customs or border guard) is regarded as solved when the circumstances in which the offence was committed, the parties involved as well as other factors necessary for making the decision on bringing charges and for the trial have been clarified. The decision is made by the officer in charge of the pre-trial investigation.

Suspect

Person suspected of an offence. The decision on suspicion and recording is made by the police (or an investigator of the customs or border guard). Only suspects of solved offences are taken into consideration in the statistics.

The main rule is that persons are presented in the statistics as many times as they are suspected of an offence (gross number of persons). The statistical unit used is an offence. If several persons have taken part in the same offence together, the number of offences recorded is one.

If a person commits a series of offences or several similar offences, the number of suspects is calculated based on the offences in this series.

The database tables present the numbers of suspects with three different calculation methods: Suspects of solved offences (or total number), number of suspected offences and according to the principal offence rule/the most aggravated offence.

Victim

If the injured party is also the victim of an offence, a separate entry is made of this into the PATJA system. At the moment, it is obligatory to record victim data only in attempted homicides, assaults and other crimes against life or health, sexual offences, human trafficking offences and in some offences of Chapter 25 of the Criminal Code.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Statistics on offences and coercive measures [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-9178. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 26.9.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/rpk/kas_en.html