The predecessors of Supo
As predecessor agencies of Supo, EK and Valpo reflected the values and practices of the political and social situation prevailing at the time.
The National Investigative Police (EK) 1919-1937
The National Investigative Police began operating on 13 August 1919 as one of several institutions established in the newly independent Republic of Finland. Its most prominent Director, Esko Riekki, ran the agency for 15 years (between 1923 and 1938), with one of his subordinates, Urho Kekkonen, later becoming President of the Republic.
The National Investigative Police nevertheless lost its support in 1937 with the formation of a red-ochre coalition government led by the Social Democratic Party and the Agrarian League (the predecessor of the modern Centre Party). The name of the agency was then changed to State Police (Valpo), and Riekki had to step down as Director.
The State Police (Valpo I)
The State Police (Valpo) emerged from the remains of the National Investigative Police with a new organisation, a change of staff, and the appointment of Arno Anthon as Director of Valpo I.
Collaboration with Germany increased under the pressures of the war years, and especially during the turbulent interim peace and continuation war period, with the German Gestapo providing an operating format for Valpo. Some staff members who had been involved in various questionable schemes left Finland for Sweden, and even for Venezuela, after the war.
The State Police (Valpo II)
It was already clear that Valpo would be reformed after the war, with a clean-up beginning after an election that led to a shift in the governing balance of power and saw a change in the leadership of Valpo and the replacement of nearly all of its staff. The newly appointed Director, Otto Brus, a Communist sympathiser, oversaw a shift of policy against the right wing, resulting in the emergence of so-called Red Valpo.
A lack of professionalism, lack of support from other public authorities, instability of operation and numerous errors eventually eroded non-communist support for the government by 1947.
The Communists were ousted from the government after the election of summer 1948, whereupon the incoming Social Democrat minority government of Karl-August Fagerholm disbanded Valpo and established Supo as an entirely new agency.
The associated legislation for Supo was formally adopted on 17 December 1948 and the new agency launched its operations at the beginning of 1949.