The EU Mission for the Support of Palestinian Police and Rule of Law

Meet our Head of Security Sector Reform Section

 Despite the turbulent times here in the Mission Area and beyond, EUPOL COPPS very recently welcomed our new Head of SSRS (Security Sector Reform Section). Our Finnish colleague Kai joined us from Finland. Kai has served in the region before, also within EUPOL COPPS, and as a Mission, we are very fortunate to have him back in our midst. PPIO spent some time with Kai to get to know him a bit better, and we would like our audience to get to know him too.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself (nationality, professional background and experience and expertise)

I come from Finland. I am a serving police officer with over 33 years of professional experience of which 17 years in senior management level. My current job is in the National Police Board which is the supreme command of Finnish police. My special responsibilities are the strategic management of national K9 activities, national procurement and budgeting of protective gear and weaponry and Nordic countries uniformed policing co-operation. I’m also one of the supreme command national duty officers.  

My background contains experience from almost all aspects of policing: uniformed policing, criminal investigations, technical surveillance, immigration and weapons administration, all in both operational and supervisory positions. I have worked as a teacher in the Police College of Finland teaching operational leadership and management. I have also worked as a head of drug investigations department of the Finnish Customs.

On an international perspective I have lived away from Finland for some time of my life. As a child I lived in Australia for five years, one year in Saudi Arabia and two years in Iraq. After that I spent one year in the USA as an exchange student. As an adult I have spent one year in South Lebanon in the UN peacekeeping mission. In 2011-2012 I was seconded to the USSC Ramallah -mission as a senior police advisor with the responsibility of assessing and validating the Intermediate Leaders Course for the PA security forces. And my latest secondment here was 2016-2017 when I was the senior police advisor for community policing. So in a way my current post as the Head of SSRS seems to be a logic continuation.

My expertise is widespread and I have a good understanding on almost all aspects of policing as well as their interconnectivity and dependence. I have management and leadership skills of both police and civilian personnel.

  1. Explain your portfolio here at EUPOL COPPS

My post within EUPOL COPPPS is the Head of Security Sector Reform Section (SSRS). The job description contains the leadership and management of the section as well as providing expertise in the issues needed. Within SSRS, I am very fortunate to have an excellent team of Police Advisors coming from all sectors of expertise.

  1. What do you enjoy most about working in the Region, given that this is not your first experience here?

The people are very friendly and hospitable and easy to talk to. For a Finn (we are mostly regarded as mute) this is very refreshing and on the other hand also slightly intimidating!

I am intrigued by the history and complexity of the region. The historical sites all around the region tell stories of different times and reigns. I see them as monuments of the rise and fall of eras.

I also think that the landscape is one of the most beautiful in the world, in all of its ruggedness and with all its different features from the northern mountains to the rolling hills towards the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean seashore and deserts towards the Gulf of Aqaba.

  1. What are the challenges you anticipate facing, and how, in your view, may they be overcome?

I think we are witnessing the greatest challenge in EUPOL COPPS history at the moment. The situation has dramatically and sadly taken a horrendous turn in the past days and weeks. Despite the challenges, we as a Mission continue to implement our mandate with our counterparts, notwithstanding the trying times we find ourselves in. It comes as no surprise that the focus of our counterparts is very much on the current situation. However, life needs to continue and it is clear that most of the people want stability and safety in life. I believe that EUPOL COPPS, together with our counterparts are making a grand effort in making this possible.

How will this challenge be overcome is a million dollar question… I believe we need to “keep on keeping on” and try to think about the “day after”. When this is over the time will come for reconciliation and stabilisation. In my perspective we play an important role. Every individual EUPOL COPPS family member has her/his part to play in supporting the communities and people.

PPIO: Kai, thank you very much for granting us this interview! It is indeed a pleasure to welcome you back to EUPOL COPPS. Within the PPIO Team, we are proud to work alongside you and the SSRS Team, and sincerely look forward to building upon our excellent collaboration.