Witnesses calling media before police

Witnesses to crimes and accidents in Finland are frequently alerting the media before the police, according to reports.

Police want to battle the growing trend of citizens tipping off news outlets in return for rewards, by providing better information services to the media themselves, according to the Keskisuomalainen newspaper.

“Citizens often first report a disturbance to the media or put a video up on YouTube before they even think that maybe they should inform the authorities,” Inspector Tuomo Korhonen of the Central Finland police told Keskisuomalainen.

In an effort to get back in the loop, officers asked journalists for feedback on their communication skills and were told that they are somewhat non-responsive in fast-breaking situations.

In a bid to ensure that information is made more readily available to the media, three new communication units are now being set up within the force. Videos, photos and reports will soon be posted onto police websites by the new units, making the information available to journalists worldwide.

There are also plans to post real-time updates on crimes and emergencies via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The plans will be finalised and announced by the national police administration by the beginning of March.