Jonne Rinne, Chair of the Finnish Police Union SPJL, has been elected President of EuroCOP (European Confederation of Police), the central organisation of European police unions.

Jonne was elected today at the autumn EuroCOP conference in Spain, taking over from Calum Steele. The presidential term is two years.

Jonne said he was “humbled and proud” that he had been elected President despite representing a small member country, and that he wanted to make a real contribution to the EuroCOP community.

Jonne said: “The world is changing rapidly, and in this situation, it is necessary that internal security professionals across Europe share information and cooperate. Many of the issues that we have highlighted in Finland in recent years, such as online targeting and increasing gang violence, have come to SPJL’s attention through EuroCOP.

“Decisions are made in Brussels that affect the working conditions and the job security of the police. That’s why it’s important that we’re taking the voice of security professionals to where decisions are made.”

Jonne has been a police officer since 2002 and has been the Chair of SPJL and a committee member of EuroCOP for five years.

He said his ambition was to grow the organisation, especially as Europe was facing many crises. He said: “It’s no secret I want to see more unions take part in EuroCOP, more members from all European countries.

“There is now war in Europe. We are protecting the security of Europeans and protecting democracy, so we need to cooperate with each other. The safety and environment of our security is changing, and the police are the frontline.”

EuroCOP believes that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Jonne shares this idea and strives to lead the organisation in such a way that police unions from countries that are outside EuroCOP are included. He added that, through Nordiska Polisförbundet (NPF), the Nordic police unions have a long tradition of cooperation, and Jonne wants to bring this culture to EuroCOP.

Other challenges were ahead, he said: “Climate change will affect Europe; we can’t just close our eyes to it and hope it goes away. And that’s where we need to start operating, cooperating more effectively.”

Violence against police officers was another concern, Jonne said: “We cannot tolerate it. We need to be really loud and clear, and tell everyone, ‘This is not okay’. And for those who have been attacked or injured, or sometimes even died, we need more than warm words for their families. In Sweden, hundreds of police officers were attacked this year. We need to put a stop to it.”

He added: “I’m proud and happy to be the new President of EuroCOP. We have a long history of working together in EuroCOP, but we need to change the perspective. We need to get bigger. I’m aware that that’s a big responsibility and a challenge.”

EuroCOP, the umbrella group for police unions and staff organisations in Europe, unites 30 police unions operating in 25 countries, with a total of more than 230,000 members. It promotes the rights and occupational safety of the police and improves the exchange of information and cooperation between European police officers. It brings the experience and know-how of officers to discussions about policing at the European level. Established in 2002, EuroCOP has its headquarters in Luxembourg. SPJL has been a member of the organisation since the foundation year.