Admission criteria through the times - Police Museum
Pääsyvaatimukset eri aikoina sisältö englanti
Admission criteria through the times
The preferred qualities of a police officer have been different in different times. In this page, we have collected extracts from the admission criteria through the times.
Solid comprehension, healthy and robust body
In the early days of Finnish independence, policemen were men with a background as officers or in the Finnish White Guard, and a track record of combat experience in the ranks of the white forces was considered a merit. Reliability referred to a statement by the White Guard of a right-wing conviction. This was prioritized over other requirements. Riot control was emphasized in police training.
Significant turnover and low pay were characteristic to the police forces, so it was challenging to try to convince men to become policemen. Owing to this, there was no requirement for basic training from the applicants, and many police officers had only attended circulating school. The qualities required included “good comprehension, a healthy and robust body and an impeccable past”.
A disposition that was enterprising, bold and determined was appreciated in the 1920s. Policemen whose only education was circulating school also needed to learn general basic knowledge, writing and calculus at the State Police School.
In 1926, the Police Committee defined the requirements for policemen: at least 170 cm tall, good hearing and eyesight, between 22 and 36 years of age, completion of military service or White Guard training, testament of reliability, abstinence and appropriate way of life, and a vigorous and respectable appearance.
Order-giver, not a blabber-mouth
In the 1930s, completing the military service with a non-commissioned officer training was a requirement of the applicants. You would get additional admission points for a car driver or radio operator training.
After World War II, there was a “mass recruitment”, i.e. the admission criteria were significantly lowered, until they were reinstated in 1949, when the organization of intelligence tests and aptitude tests began for the applicants began.
In the period of time from the 1940s to the 1960s, abstinence and integrity no longer sufficed. In the 1950s, emphasis was placed on good physical condition, “general smartness” and the “nature of an order-giver”: no “blabbermouths” wanted. These requirements reflect the male ideal of the time. By 1957, one in three police students had completed middle school.
From the 1960s through to 1980s, the desired qualities were: practical, ready to act, strong, determined, conventional and unimpeachable. The applicant had to have at least corporal rank in the military, to be 20–30 years of age and at least 175 cm tall. Attention was paid to ready wit and appearance.
Broad-minded and law-abiding
Women were given an equal right to apply for police training in 1974. This meant that a special permission was no longer required.
In the 1970s, applicants needed to be physically and mentally suitable and have the right kind of attitude – to be broad-minded, law-abiding, people-oriented, social and democratic – not bohemian or impulsive. Their behaviour in private life had to be reputable and impeccable.
The age limits have varied: in 1978, the applicants had to be between 22 and 25 years of age, and in 1985, the minimum age was set at 18. In 1994, the maximum age was 35.
In the Police Decree issued in 1985, the requirement for completing military service with officer or NCO training remained, but women were exempted from this requirement.
Friendly problem solver
From the 1990s until the 2010s, the sought-after police officers were peaceful, determined, bold, objective, friendly and fair.
In the 2000s, the requirement for Finnish citizenship was recorded in the law. At the same time, the recruitment process started to focus on women, people from scarcely-populated areas and people of ethnic or other minorities.
The age and height limits were removed in the 2000s.
Today, a potential candidate for police education must have good social and cooperation skills, excel at solving problems and taking responsibility and be in good physical condition.