Staffan Söderström

Motorcycle police are on the road in all kinds of weather

Staffan Söderström is a police officer in the traffic sector of the East Uusimaa Police Department. His job duties include traffic surveillance and emergency services, in a car in the winter and on a motorcycle in the summer. He also provides training for motorcycle police for part of the year.

Traffic surveillance on a motorbike

The work of a motorcycle police officer involves a variety of traffic surveillance duties. It is a round-the-clock job, but focuses on times when traffic is heavier. Patrolling is done in cars in winter, but in the spring Söderström switches to a motorcycle.

“In certain situations a motorcycle is a much better tool than a police car,” says Söderström.“A motorcycle can go really fast sometimes, and it’s often impossible to catch a fleeing motorcyclist in a police car. That’s a job for a motorcycle cop,” he says.

From hobby to profession

Staffan Söderström has been a motorcycle police officer for more than ten years. After completing upper secondary school and his military service, he applied for Police College and when he was accepted at the age of 19 was the youngest cadet in his year. His career choice was influenced by his motoring hobby.

“Being a motorcycle police officer means I can combine my favourite hobby with my job, which is terrific,” he says. Söderström completed a motorcycle police course after his vocational qualification in police studies. Today, he spends about three months a year providing motorcycle police training at Räyskälä in Loppi.

“Being an instructor is a pleasant change from routine work. I spend most of my time in traffic surveillance on the road, and training is a welcome departure from routine work,” says Söderström.

Physical fitness helps

Most of the people encountered by motorcycle police officers are ordinary citizens. Söderström notes that motorcycle police must, most importantly, have social skills and the ability to get along with all kinds of people. This is particularly important since motorcycle police officers often work alone rather than in pairs.

Maintaining physical fitness is also important for the job: even the entrance examinations for the training involve tests for physical fitness as well as driving skills.

“You have to be focused all the time when on the road, sometimes in hot weather and at high speeds. You need to take care of yourself if you want to make it to retirement age in this job,” says Söderström.