The Finnish Internet Police (Nettipoliisi): towards the development of a real cyber police


  • Giulio Calcara University of Eastern Finland
  • Marko Forss Nettipoliisi
  • Matti Juhani Tolvanen University of Eastern Finland
  • Peter Sund University of Eastern Finland


This article discusses the advantages and the practical and legal limits of the use of social media and computer technology in police services through the experience of the Finnish Internet police (Nettipoliisi). Particular attention is given to the use of social media as a medium of performing virtual community policing and as a tool to carry out ordinary police work.

Nettipoliisi started as a virtual community policing unit specialized in social media, but in time expanded its range of action, incorporating reactive and proactive functions. This shift is analysed in the second part of the article. The article is intended to create discussion and stimulate further research to find answers to the question whether it is the possible to create a new type of law enforcement service, a cyber police operating on the Web with the same function and power of a regular police officer. Domestic and international legal issues involving cyber policing are taken into consideration and recommendations to lawmakers are given.  Furthermore, the possibility of implementing the Nettipoliisi model to an international scenario is briefly examined.

Keywords: virtual community policing; social media; cyber police; crime prevention; Nettipoliisi; Finland

Author Biographies

Giulio Calcara, University of Eastern Finland

Giulio Calcara is a LL.D. candidate in Criminal Law and Judicial Procedure at the University of Eastern Finland. He is a Lecturer in Basic Concepts of Criminal Law and a Lecturer in International Criminal Law and Law of Criminal Procedure. He has written several articles, papers and given presentation in the fields of policing, police cooperation and cybercrime.

Marko Forss, Nettipoliisi

Sergeant Marko Forss started Virtual Community Policing in Finland. He has been a police officer for 16 years and done virtual community policing in different social media related sites since September 2008. Forss has a strong experience with social media related crimes like online sexual crimes, cyberbullying and identity thefts. Sergeant Marko Forss was nominated as the Police Officer Year in Finland 2011. 

Matti Juhani Tolvanen, University of Eastern Finland

Professor Matti Tolvanen, is a professor in Criminal Law and Legal Procedure at the University of Eastern Finland. Professor Tolvanen obtained his LL.D. at the University of Turku. Professor Tolvanen  has published books, articles and research reports in criminal law, criminal procedure and criminal policy, which are also his main competence areas. He has also frequently given lectures in several domestic and foreign universities and institutes. Professor Tolvanen has also been lecturing as a visiting professor by Fudan University in China on criminal liability of corporations.

Peter Sund, University of Eastern Finland

Mr. Sund is doctoral student at the University of Eastern Finland, Law school. His major is criminal law and legislative studies in which he’s researching EU law and policing. Mr. Sund has working experience in policing both on national and international levels and he is an expert on EU Justice and Home Affairs, strategic police development and capacity building.






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