Finnish Border Guard could be authorized to counter hybrid warfare
«Hybrid threats typically escalate very quickly and are difficult to anticipate,» says Deputy Commander Jakko Olli from Finland’s South-East Border Guard in an interview with state broadcaster YLE.
A proposed new law says the Border Guard can get the right to block mobile networks, shooting down drones, bugging suspects, covert information gathering techniques including tapping mobile phone network base stations near border crossing points. If approved, the law will extend the Border Guard’s jurisdiction some hundred meters from the crossing check-points and other assets along the border.
«These new powers will allow us to react to situations quicker and more effectively, even in everyday conditions,» Jaakko Olli tells to YLE.
In Finland, and unlike in Norway where the police is responsible for guarding the border, the Border Guard is an internal security agency operating directly under the Ministry of the Interior.
With Finland’s new law, Border Guard forces would get the means to hold down the fort until the police arrive, should a serious incident take place.
Finland has a 1,340 km long border to Russia that mostly runs through uninhabited taiga forest. In the north, where there are two border check-points from Lapland to the Kola Peninsula, distances to nearest police stations are long. From Raja-Jooseppi, the police station in Ivalo is more than 50 km away. That is a 40 minute drive.
Legal chief of staff with the Border Guard, Ari-Pekka Koivisto, says to YLE that the Crimean crisis involving «little green men» or unmarked foreign combatants was also a wake-up call for the organization monitoring Finland’s frontiers.
The Border Guard service is also set to control the airspace along the border. With the new law, means and rights to take-down, or take remote control over, drones and other unmanned aircraft will be given to the guards in an effort to prevent spying.
The new bill giving expanded power to the Border Guard will be discussed in Parliament in the autumn and could come into effect in spring 2018.
In the north, Finnish Border Guard cooperate on a regular basis with Norwegian Police in charge of border control to Russia. Within the cooperation, personell from Finland are frequently on duty at Norway’s Storskog check-point to Russia as well as in other near-border areas like in the town of Kirkenes. Similar, Norwegian Police officers can be seen on duty with Finnish colleagues at checkpoints between Finnish Lapland and Russia.