School ends for thousands of students this weekend, and authorities are concerned for the safety of young people during the usual year-end celebrations.
The Helsinki Police Department announced on Thursday that they will conduct special operations to "intensely monitor the consumption of intoxicants by young people" during the end-of-school weekend.
According to a press release, the special operations will particularly focus on places where young people meet, such as the parks, beaches and outdoor areas of daycare centres and schools.
Police say the goal of these highly visible special operations is to prevent public disturbances and accidents, as well as to protect young people from crime.
During the end-of-school night, the Helsinki Police Department will work together with Helsinki's youth workers and other volunteers. In the operations, police patrols will be present in all parts of Helsinki and intervene in the use of intoxicants by minors or other situations where public order or security is at risk.
"Minors will be fined if they have any alcohol in their possession, and we will also notify their guardians and child welfare services. The police will confiscate and discard any alcohol held by minors. If the police discover any alcohol in the possession of children under 15, or if they are found to be intoxicated, they will be handed over to their guardians or social services," says Chief Inspector Johanna Sinivuori.
On the other hand, the Western Uusimaa Police Department has recently warned of a "worrying" phenomenon detected among some young people in Espoo. Some young people have been found to have consumed illegally acquired alcohol mixed with a chemical substance hitherto unknown to the authorities.
According to the police, the mixture can cause unpredictable, even aggressive behavior in those who consume it.
The police recommend parents to talk with their children about the dangers of drug use and how to celebrate the end of the school year safely. They also advice parents to contact their children in the evening and agree with them upon a common set of rules before celebrations.
The police advise young people to take care of each other and to immediately seek help if anything unfortunate takes place while celebrating. Help is available on the spot from police patrols and youth workers or by calling the general emergency number 112.