assistance

Interior minister concerned about police billing for official assistance | Yle Uutiset


Kaksi järjestyspoliisia takaapäin kuvattuna. Poliisin työssään kokema väkivalta on kasvanut. Kuvituskuva.
Most police assistance tasks are related to mental health and child protection.


Image: Eleni Paspatis / Yle

Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Green) has said that she is worried about a police decision to begin charging fees for providing backup in critical tasks related to child protection or mental health rehabilitation, among others.

Police said that as of Thursday they would begin charging fees for support provided to other authorities or individuals, which could include invoicing child protection authorities or veterinarians. The police payment is not new but has been rarely implemented in the past.

The minister said on Twitter on Thursday that she has issued an urgent order to correct the situation quickly. She added that she is concerned by feedback she has received from municipalities and child protection officials regarding police plans to bill for providing official support in such tasks.

A regulation allowing for police to charge for providing backup services has been in force since 1994, but the revenue stream has been negligible so far, the police board said.

According to the regulation, support duties that are free of charge include tasks related to the Mental Health Act, Civil Service Law, Employment Accident and Occupational Disease Act, implementation of sentences, assistance to defence forces and foreclosure situations.

Police assistance is also needed to protect health care staff in certain situations or to force open doors when child protection authorities search for missing young people, for instance.

Billing could generate millions in revenue

The police receive about 70,000 requests for official assistance each year, and about half of them will be invoiced from now on, they say.

Billing is based on costs — for instance, the hourly rate for two police officers and a car is 165 euros, and for one police officer is 70 euros.

Virginia House passes $134B budget with broadband funding, utility and rental assistance

The Virginia House’s version of the state’s two-year budget that passed Tuesday primarily deals with the financial losses and other obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn.



a tree in front of Virginia State Capitol


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Gov. Ralph Northam signed a significantly stripped down budget in April in light of the prospective economic decline and requested the General Assembly to re-evaluate some proposals during a special session in light of new economic forecasts.

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The House spending proposal maintains the crux of the original cuts but includes potential funding increases for state employees and other initiatives that go into effect only if the state has enough revenue to fund them. The budget also includes additional guaranteed money for education to offset a loss of funding, assistance for people who have been unable to pay their rent and utility bills, and funding for broadband.

A portion of Virginia’s education budget is reliant on sales tax revenue, which has declined since the pandemic hit. An amendment approved with bipartisan support would allocate $95.2 million in revenue accrued by skilled gaming machines to offset that loss for fiscal 2021. It would be a one-time allocation that is not intended to become precedent for future education funding, Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, said on the House floor.

The budget also allocates $55 million in general fund revenue to expand access to affordable housing, provide rental assistance and support the homeless in fiscal 2021. The budget language would allow eligible renters to apply for funding to pay for the entirety of their back rent and allow landlords to pursue evictions only after they have applied for the aid for their tenants.

To assist renters who have been negatively affected by COVID-19, the budget would appropriate about $120 million in COVID-19 relief funds to pay