Sergeant Marko Forss
Helsinki Police Department/
Downtown Police
2009 ©
What is IRC-Galleria?
• You can compare it to Facebook, Hyves(Netherlands),
Lunarstorm(Sweden),Skyrock(France), Orkut(Brazil&India)
• Site established in December 2000
• The site provides possibility to discuss in various communities,
keep blog and comment to other users pictures
• The most popular site(amongs youth) in Finland and it has over
0,5 million users and contains over 9 million pictures
• Over 60% of finnish youth, ages between 13-17, use the site
daily. Average age of the users is about 21
• Over 80% of 16 year old finnish girls are registered to IRCGalleria
• Registration age limit is 12 years
• 2/3 of members logs in daily, 80% weekly
How was the Police Profile -fobbaFounded?
• Idea about the profile in fall 2007
• Inquiry from other partners (Youth department,
site owner etc.)
• Presentation about the idea to superior in spring
• Generational gap caused difficulties
understanding the idea
• Police profile -fobba- started 10.9.2008
How Can You Contact the Police
• Write comment or question under profile pictures
-Over half of the incoming messages are
• MSN Messenger (only for important issues)
• E-mail
• Telephone
• Busiest time at evenings
• Profile takes part in conversations in different types of
communities(anarchism, drug related communities,
police work related communities)
What’s the Purpose of the
Give kids a new kind of chance to contact the police
Preventive police work: Inform youth about laws and aswer to their
Profiles are not there to limit the freedom of speech or to moderate the
site, but profiles will intervene to criminal actions if it’s necessary
Possibility to contact ”customers” (private messages)
Take part in conversations on sites different communities
Help the youth to understand that criminal activity on internet is as
forbidden as in real life and you can also end up a victim yourself
Be present for youth and create a feel of security
Tool of investigation
Tips to different type of crimes every week
Multiprofessional cooperation (Social and youth workers, schools, aid
Most Common Questions and
Progression of the profile
Moped, alcohol, tobacco and police work related questions
Opinions asked about different things (graffities, drugs etc.)
Several very personal questions (rape, child abuse, domestic violence
etc.) wich will sometimes lead to preliminary investigation
Homepage www.poliisi.fi/irc-galleria was made to help with the
questions. It contains links to aswers for the most common questions
(internet and blogs)
2000-4000 visitors per week (busiest week 35000)
30000 questions or comments from 8000 different users in first nine
months to profile -fobbaA boy from northern Finland created a fanclub community called fobba- <3
Recognition from Minister of Communications Suvi Linden: ”a best
practice model for cooperation”
Two new police profiles ^mane^ and [--jutta--] started in May 2009
”Kyttäkatsaus” started in December 2009
What Kind of person Should the
Virtual Community Police Be?
No special knowledge from computers necessary
Sufficient experience from police work
Casual but adequately correct
Intention to reply to as many questions as possible
Honest and don’t suck up
Won’t provoke if somebody is ”trashtalking” but can say
back in suitable humor
• No swearing or indecent writings (doesn’t matter if the
comment is private)
”Ups and Downs”
You can reach a lot of people easily and inexpensively
Easy to contiune the relationship made in internet in real life (alcohol
It’s much easier to talk about unplesant and difficult things in internet
than in real life
Easier to start conversation with ethnic minorities
Internet users inform more often about violations in internet because it’s
easy and almost anonymous
Police ”keeps up” with the constant changes in youth lifestyle
Is commercial service provider ok for this kind of work?
Security of the private messages
Big playgroud, few workers at the moment
Laws and regulations concerning internet, laws are national - internet is
Security risks of the user
Bullying Preventing Program
• A new pilot for seven downtown area junior high schools
• Intention to give a new kind of chance to inform about bullying
by internet
• Informer can be the one being bullied, bystander, school or
• Police will estimate what actions are necessary
• Help the yougsters to understand the criminal consequenses of
• Includes bullying in school, free time and cyberbullying
• Provides effective interferense to bullying by intense
cooperation between school and police
What else?
• We also work on Facebook
• More visible police profiles to other sites too
• Possibility to use different type of profiles: youth worker,
social worker, nurse, traffic related education…
• ”Visible patrolling on Internet” will be basic police work in
the future
When the winds of change are blowing,
it’s better to build windmills than build
Chinese folklore
contact me by email:
[email protected]