Monday, May 03, 2010

When any uniform will do

YLE has an interesting little story of a police investigation in Tampere, Finland's second city, where youths stopped fire fighters from putting out an open fire in a park:
A gang of youths managed physically to prevent fire officers from extinguishing an open fire in Näsinkallio Park. They also interfered with fire hoses being used to tackle the blaze started by the youths. The fire brigade was forced to leave the scene after the gang attacked rescue vehicles with bottles. Police were called in to restore order.
This happens regularly in rougher parts of the UK where any uniformed service represents the state and therefore a target of anger for some, but I haven't heard of it happening here before. I happened to be talking to a Finnish firefighter last week who is currently doing policy work. He was telling me about how the first responders on the scene of the Sello shooting in Espoo just after Christmas last year were firefighter, but they then had to leave the scene because they don't carry body armour in their fire engines and when the police got there they didn't want people in the shopping centre without vests on. Clearly firefighter don't expect violence against them as one of the risk they have to deal with. The paramedics do have vests in their ambulances and went in with armed police escorting them but only after some time had elapsed and unfortunately all the victims had died - although this is not to suggest that any could have been saved by paramedics getting to them quicker.

Like firefighters everywhere I'm sure the crew that turned up in Tampere weren't by any means softies, which makes you think the violence they faced was probably more than the YLE story's wording suggests.

On a vaguely connected note; whilst celebrating Vappu in a club last Friday night - a bit of a hipster/hippy kind of place full of harmless, friendly student types, I noticed the bouncer - who whilst kinda beefy and having that don't-mess air about him otherwise fitted in with the clientèle - was wearing a stab vest under his t-shirt. Is this now standard for Helsinki doormen?


Zzzzzz said...

I'm reliably informed that (anti)stab vests are de rigour in the south east these days.

Jukka said...

They were SOP a decade ago when I was working in a bar, had all my hair, was single and drove a clapped out car.

It really has been normal for bouncers in Helsinki to wear a stab vest for the past decade.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Thanks Jukka. That's interesting - I've not noticed before, but perhaps this guy was just wearing too tight a t-shirt over it!

protectyourself said...

It is disturbing that people are attacking fire fighters when they do such an amazing job. They must be equipped with stab proof vests and protective clothing, and the people who abuse them should be severely punished.

Protect Youself