Humans of Helsinki Airport: Airport police Harri Vihola

People & Aviation
Published
21.9.2017 - 06:00
Harri Vihola started as the Chief of Helsinki Airport’s police and gives a sneak peek into his daily work.

“I knew from early childhood that I wanted to be a policeman. It sort of runs in the family, as I have several relatives who’ve worked in the police force. The work hasn’t been quite the Miami Vice fantasy I had in mind as a boy – I still don’t own a pastel-colored suit or a speed boat – but I have really enjoyed my career ever since I started 1998. 

"An airport of 17.2 million passengers and 20,000 employees is like a small universe."

In May, I started my duties as the Chief of Helsinki Airport police. There’s a lot to learn in this new environment. An airport of 17.2 million passengers and 20,000 employees is like a small universe, and demands a special skillset from policemen. We cooperate tightly with customs, border safety, emergency services and Finavia safety operations.

The airport police unit handles a lot of passport applications and is involved in immigration matters like safety operations relating to asylum seekers and refugees. We also provide safeguarding during state visits and escort important visitors. Our typical tasks also often involve handling public disturbances, such as drunken behavior. We investigate airport traffic accidents and send foot patrols to ensure a calm environment at the airport. 

"The toughest situations for a police officer involve facing an armed person, who threatens public safety. "

The toughest situations for a police officer are those where a child's life is in danger or those that involve facing an armed person, who threatens public safety. The airport, however, is a fairly calm environment, where you seldom have to face the darker side of police work. Mostly we deal with regular people who come here to start their vacations or travel for work.

Passengers also often approach us to ask for advice or directions around the airport. We are always happy to chat and help in whatever way we can!”

Read about the service desk of airport police.