Officials monitored the movements, vehicles, and acquaintances of members of the minority group in an informal log introduced in response to internal instructions issued in 2013 urging them to address any abuses and other findings when patrolling on a low threshold.
However, the information received by the broadcaster shows that the instructions were interpreted in the field as a license to stop and write personal data without a legal basis. The number of entries made in the log was approximately 1,000 at the time of its unloading in 2017.
The Police Board has recently launched an investigation into the practice.
Heikki KopperoinenThe deputy head of the Helsinki Police Department told YLE that the log was introduced as part of an effort to address the shootings that took place in the capital in 2013–2017, which also posed a danger to bystanders. The shootings, he added, were unfortunately often linked to exploitation between different Roma families.
“We had to somehow intervene in the shooting. We monitored the situation and tried to get it under control so that bystanders or even criminals would not be hit with a bullet, ”he commented.
Kopperoinen confirmed that the log consisted mainly of entries for the Roma population and their vehicles, but denied the interpretation that the practice would be ethnic profiling against a minority group.
“I really don’t think this activity was ethnic profiling. Of course you can immediately say that the police department has made tremendous progress in these matters in recent years. There may have been a few wrong steps along the way, but we have made a lot of progress and corrected,” he stressed. foreigners and equality.
“The purpose of this was to make sure these shootings were prevented and no one would end up losing their lives or anything.”
He added that the log was discussed internally and was stopped after he started as a police chief in 2017. The shootings had also ended by then.
“We decided to stop this kind of activity because someone could misinterpret it,” he said. “The world has changed a lot during this time. We would not take this approach today. If we had to do the same thing, perhaps we will use the information we now have to think about whether it is smart and, on the other hand, what it looks like from the outside. “
YLE on Sunday wrote that police officers across the country have revealed to have seen their colleagues behave inappropriately or racistly on call. Officials who spoke anonymously to the broadcaster said the racist attitude was evident, especially in comments made during coffee breaks, but also when it comes to on-call people with an immigrant background.
Some said they understood where their colleagues ’prejudiced and racist attitude comes from:“ In this job, you only meet people from certain ethnic backgrounds in negative contexts, ”one interviewee described.
Mikko EränenThe Deputy Chief of Police of the Police Board told the broadcaster that the matter would be raised in discussions with the police chiefs.
“We make sure through management that no one in any police unit uses such racist practices or comments. This starts at the management level,” he said. “Inappropriate behavior and racist attitudes are not part of police values.”
According to the UN, the General Prosecutor’s Office ruled on nearly 30 cases in which police were accused of racist behavior between 2018 and 2020. Many cases, as it revealed, were related to complaints that police ordered a motorist to stop and checked their driver’s license and registration for no apparent reason and behaved in an inappropriate or racist manner.
One case was not considered to justify a preliminary investigation.
Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Greens) stressed on Sunday that the police must have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination.
“If there are situations where someone has acted in a way that is not in line with this zero tolerance, you must admit it, acknowledge the action and seek redress everywhere so that every police officer or civilian police officer is aware of the fundamental principles. the core of official activity, ”he said said To YLE.
Importantly, he added, the problems are being discussed in public.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: The Nordic Page