Estonian Police

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Estonian Police
Eesti Politsei
Estonian Police and Border Guard Board coat of arms.svg
Seal of the Estonian Police
Agency overview
Formed 12 November 1918 (1918-11-12)
Dissolved 1 January 2010 (2010-01-01)
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction Government of Estonia
Parent agency Ministry of the Interior

The Estonian Police (Estonian: Eesti Politsei) was the law enforcement agency of Estonia. It was subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. In 2010, the organization was superseded by the Police and Border Guard Board.


Formation and disbandment (1918-1940)

Estonian Police Museum

The Estonian Police was established on 12 November 1918, when police stations were taken over from the German occupation forces by the Chief of Militsiya - Aleksander Hellat. Between 1918-1919, the police was called militsiya, it was subordinate to the local self-government and acted according to the Russian Provisional Government law. During the Estonian War of Independence the police was tasked with curtailing crime, helping the military and conducting joint operations with the Estonian Defence League.

On January 1 1919, the self-government based police became a national agency, subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior and lead by the Police Directorate (Estonian: Politsei Peavalitus). The Police Directorate was called Politseivalitsus between 1929-1938, and Politseitalitus between 1938-1940. On 17 December 1919, the Estonian Constituent Assembly passed the Police Act. A field police was established, which was tasked with protecting public safety and order. Police districts were formed based on counties and cities, these were divided into divisions, which were further divided into precincts. Criminal police was established on January 5, 1920, and the Estonian Internal Security Service on 12 April 1920. Furthermore, police reserve was established in 1920. The police consisted of field police and the Internal Security Service, which were subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior, and criminal police, which was subordinate to the Ministry of Justice. On May 1, 1924, the services were unified under the control of the Police Directorate. On 1 December 1924, there was a failed coup d'état attempt by the Soviets, in which five policemen were killed. This lead to major revisions in the police force. The composition of staff was put in order, police reserves were enlarged, number of transportation vehicles was increased, more modern guns taken into service and communication options were improved. In 1925, a police school was established in Tallinn.

On January 1, 1926, police districts became prefectures and the Internal Security Service was renamed political police. Police ranks were put in accordance with the rest of Europe. By 1940, there were nine prefectures: Tallinn-Harju, Tartu-Valga, Viljandi-Pärnu, Petseri-Võru, Saare, Lääne, Viru-Järva, Narva, and Railroads prefecture. Education was provided by the Police school between 1925-1940. In 1940, the Soviets occupied Estonia and on August 28, the institution was disbanded. Most policemen fell victim to repressions.[1][2][3]

Restoration and unification (1991-2010)

The Estonian Police was re-established within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior on 1 March 1991 by the Police Act. The re-established institution consisted of exterior-, traffic-, criminal-, and investigative police. In 1993, the Internal Security Service was re-established. On January 1, 2010, the Estonia Police was joined with the Estonian Border Guard to form the Police and Border Guard Board.[1]


The highest ranking police officer holds the title of National Police Commissioner. The central agency is the Estonian Police Board which manages, directs and co-ordinates the activities of all police units under its administration.

Police units

The Estonian Police[4] has three national units: the Central Criminal Police, the Central Law Enforcement and the Forensic Service Centre.

There are 4 territorial police units called Police Prefectures. The local police chiefs are called prefects.

Relevant government department

The Police are under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The ministry supervises five central agencies – the Police Board, the Security Police Board, the Police and Border Guard Board and the Rescue Board. It also administers the Inspection of Data Protection and Public Service Academy which is an educational institution providing applied higher education in the field of policing as well as in other fields of administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Politsei ajalugu". (in Estonian). Retrieved 2018-05-31. 
  2. ^ "Tähtsündmused Eesti politsei 90-aastases ajaloos". Politseileht (in Estonian). Estonian Police. 35 (6): 6–11. 2008. 
  3. ^ "Fakte Eesti politsei ajaloost". Politseileht (in Estonian). Estonian Police. 35 (5): 22. 2003. 
  4. ^

External links

  • Official website (English)
  • Official website (Estonian)
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