One of the most important tasks of the Ministry of the Interior is to ensure the security of residents and by fast, efficient and fair legislative proceeding of offences create the legal environment appropriate for a democratic country.
The Ministry of the Interior provides the legal framework for the protection of public order, addressing challenges and security-related activities, as well as for the prevention, combat, detection and prosecution of offences and supports voluntary activities and associations related to internal security. The Ministry is also responsible for the development of forensic policy, coordination of activities of governmental institutions in the sector and organisation of supervisory control.
Principles of Estonia’s security policy
One of the characteristics of a safe living environment and safe country is the public order and its sensible protection.
Estonia’s security policy is based on five key principles which the Ministry of the Interior follows in the protection of public order and providing for security.
The priority is an individual’s responsibility and obligation to enhance their own security and security of the persons close to them by law-abiding behaviour as well as to raise their children to be responsible members of society.
The person violating the public order is anyone whose activities threaten or breach the public order, and consequently the task of protecting the public order is everyone’s task.
Violations of public order cannot be avoided or significantly reduced solely by actions of executive power. Residents, local governments, and the private and non-profit sector must be involved in creating a safe living environment, and they should be allowed to participate in making decisions that affect them.
In implementing the main guidelines of security policy, public, private and non-profit sectors as well as individuals should cooperate at national, local and individual levels.
The requirement of good cooperation is finding the common denominator between activities aimed at the protection of public order, coordinated planning and implementation of such activities and respective consulting as well as achieving common benefits by the creation of security in cooperation with all the participants.
The use of social and situational prevention measures in order to provide for security allows a reduction in the number of victims and is cheaper and more effective than dealing with the consequences of committed offences. Prevention begins with each person’s awareness of planning their life in a way that the probability of getting into hazardous situations is minimised.
The violation of public order cannot be avoided in the long term or significantly reduced with individual measures. The security of society can only increase as a result of coordinated, long-term work. Above all, this means consistent budget planning, consideration of changes in the external environment and an open mind for finding new solutions.
Creating a sense of security
The level of security can be measured with the help of sense of security studies that allow identifying how safe residents of Estonia feel. A sense of security also shows the satisfaction of residents with work of the police.
A general sense of security and confidence in actions of the police can be increased where the police quickly and professionally respond to events that require intervention as well as where assistant police officers and neighbourhood watch members ensure security in the neighbourhood (along with regional police officers they are the mainstay of local public order).
The main tasks of regional policemen are to contribute to cooperation between institutions and associations contributing to security, to identify and address problems within their competence that threaten the community’s security, supervise proper behaviour in public places and prevent or detect any offences.
In its daily work, in forming patrol units, in developing regional police work and in organising traffic supervision, the police are based on security analyses, and therefore it is very important to cooperate closely with local governments and community members in order to receive proper feedback about local happenings and to prevent public order violations.