1. General criteria
The Border Guard and its officials' activities are governed by Border Guard legislation and by administrative regulations and instructions. In addition, the values of the Border Guard and operations in keeping with these values form an important basis for the determination of key operating models within the Border Guard. These have also acted as a basis for the ethical practices of the Border Guard, even though no separate code of ethics existed in the past. Internationally and nationally, however, the codes of ethics of organisations and communities are becoming increasingly important. Thus, a code of ethics has also been drawn up for the Finnish Border Guard, in cooperation with the personnel. The code also contains elements that relate to the fight against corruption, in keeping with the recommendations of the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body.
The purpose of the Finnish Border Guard's Code of Ethics is to provide general ethical instructions to guide the operations for the entire staff of the Border Guard and at the same time to communicate our ethical principles to citizens, partners and other actors. By acting in accordance with the Code of Ethics, each official also carries out in practice actions that accord with the values of the Border Guard and plays their part in contributing to the objectives of increasing security in society. The Code of Ethics does not replace statutory or administrative regulations or instructions on particular matters.
The central foundation of the Finnish Border Guard's Code of Ethics is the Border Guard's values of competence, cooperation and reliability, together with the more detailed descriptions of these values produced as part of the organisation’s value development work. Our operations are based on the comprehensive security needs of Finnish citizens and the European Union.
The tasks involved and the nature of the operations require that the Border Guard's decisions and actions be as correct and ethically-sustainable as possible in all situations and that the Border Guard's activities provide benefits to society, the European Union, stakeholders and individuals.
A code of ethics (code) is defined at the general level as an instruction document that guides behaviour. Codes provide value-based guidance for good, correct actions. They do not always contain detailed instructions but may consist of core values and principles that are interpreted independently in varying work situations.
Ethics refers to the principles of assessing the correctness of particular actions.
Corruption is the abuse of influence in the pursuit of one’s own interests. Influence means the power, ability or status required to make decisions or to influence the activities, behaviour, opinions or decision-making of another actor. Influence does not presuppose formal authority or jurisdiction. Abuse of influence can be carried out by private individuals, civil servants, politicians and those employed in the economy. A person may also be guilty of corruption if they allow another person to influence their behaviour or decision-making in order to gain advantage. Such abuse of influence may violate the law or formal regulations or may be unethical in some other manner.
Interests refer to benefits that directly or indirectly improve the position, status or situation of the recipient or their sphere of interest. This sphere of interest may include, for example, relatives, friends, acquaintances, political parties, ethnic or religious groups or other reference groups. Providing, offering, receiving or requesting such benefits directly or through a third party is corruption if it is likely to affect the conduct or behaviour of another person in a way that it either violates laws or regulations, is otherwise unethical, or is likely to undermine trust.
Integrity is defined as behaviour or operations by an individual or community that complies with moral and ethical standards to prevent corruption.
2. Code of Ethics of the Border Guard
We have the knowledge and specialist skills required for our work duties.
We have excellent knowledge of the legislation guiding our activities and we know what our powers are. Our capacities to work match the requirements set by our duties, and we recognise and manage the risks involved in our duties. We are familiar with our sphere of operation and are able to handle our work equipment and vehicles in different situations and tasks and to move around in all conditions on land, in the air or at sea.
Our operations are pre-emptive, efficient and economical.
We understand the reasons, objectives and goals for our activities. We also reach our objectives quickly and safely. We perform all our duties thoroughly and well and are aware of the consequences of our actions.We handle property that is in the possession of the Border Guard in a responsible manner.
We are developers and forerunners in our sector.
We are brave, determined and purposeful and have a positive attitude towards our duties. We also are genuinely proud of our work and demonstrate precision, enthusiasm and initiative in carrying it out. We know our strengths and weaknesses and continuously develop our sector and ourselves.
We are known as developers and nature professionals. We also promote environmental protection through our activities.
We are absolutely honest and fair.
We respect human dignity, privacy and basic rights as well as the natural environment. Our solutions and activities are ethically correct and justified and comply with legislation. We consider equity and fairness in our activities and make sure everyone is treated in accordance with the same principles.
We do not accept any kind of discrimination. We intervene in situations of discrimination where we have an opportunity to influence the matter.
We behave in an exemplary manner both while on and off duty.
We bear the responsibility for our actions and we cannot be bribed. We do not seek personal benefit through official duties, nor do we accept any financial benefit or other benefit that could negatively affect others’ confidence in us.
We give consideration to the disqualification provisions in regard to all our activities. We comply with the regulations on engagement in secondary occupations and our leisure time commitments do not jeopardise the performance of our duties within the Border Guard.
We are also sincere and have high moral standards. Our conduct inspires confidence and we are worthy of this confidence in actions and words both while on and off duty.
We are available in emergencies.
Our equipment and vehicles are reliable and suitable for our operations. We are willing to help, always available and can trust each other even in difficult situations. We follow the instructions and regulations provided and we address and correct any problems we identify in our operations.
Our operations within the Border Guard and with stakeholders are based on mutual trust and openness.
We keep our promises and we value each other. We cherish a good workplace atmosphere and the spirit of border guard officers and respect our valuable traditions. We also trust each other and respect our customers.
We follow principles of good governance.
We recognise the importance of internal supervision as part of state administration activities and risk management.The supervisors and management have a special responsibility for supervising the legality and quality of our operations.
Our communication is open, reliable and pre-emptive.
Our customers, stakeholders and employees receive the information and advice they need in good time. We also take into account the needs of each other, our customers and our stakeholders. We are service-minded, admit our mistakes and will not be provoked.
With regard to confidential information, we act strictly in accordance with the regulations and ensure that information does not fall into the hands of unauthorised persons.
We are unprejudiced and flexible.
We respect each other's opinions and value working together. We are enthusiastic and supportive solution-finders. We are ready to be flexible where the situation requires and allows for this.
Key source material:
- The Constitution of Finland
- EU Convention on Human Rights
- EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
- Border Guard values and related material
- Border Guard Strategy 2027
- Personnel Strategy 2027
- Government Handbook: Values in everyday life – civil service ethics
- Results of the survey of civil service ethics and morals 2015
- Report of the Ethics Committee for Civil Servants 3/2014
- Ministry of Finance working group memorandums 8/2000; civil service ethics; study of the grounds of civil service ethics,
- its present state and areas of development
- RVLPAK A.21 (Border Guard internal supervision and risk management)
- RVLPAK A.22 (Internal legal compliance oversight in the Border Guard)
- General Service Regulations
- Working group activities involving Border Guard personnel organisations
- Statements from Border Guard administrative units
- Draft Strategy for Anti-Corruption Cooperation Network (Ministry of Justice website)