Monday 10/25/21
OPERATION KURI1

Helsinki Police reprimanded over ethnic profiling of Roma people

On Saturday, around 100 people held a demonstration in Helsinki in solidarity with the Roma community of Finland and on behalf of their rights.
Police-car-2-by-Polamk-Finnish-Police
Photo: Polamk/Police.

The National Police Board of Finland reprimanded the Helsinki Police Department in an issue involving controls of the Roma.

According to police information, the criticism relates to the prevention and information collection operation named KURI1 of the mid-2010s.

This was an intelligence operation run in the years 2013-2015, related to the unrest between Roma families.

The project was motivated by several life and health threatening crimes between Finnish Roma families, brought to the knowledge of the Police within a short period of time.  

It was characteristic of these crimes that they involved the use of firearms and other acts of violence that often took place in public places.

Once the Police Board became aware of the practice, it decided to initiate an autonomous legality control investigation, with the objective to understand whether the project has violated against the ban of ethnic profiling.

According to the Police Board, instructions of the operation, with quite general guidelines, were problematic. 

"A practice only targeted at one population group cannot constitute part of normal Police operations. Operations of this kind must always be underpinned by information management, concrete phenomena and ongoing investigations. Individual rights must never be intervened with if only based on their ethnic background," Assistant Police Commissioner Pekka-Matias Väisänen of the National Police Board points out.

However, the police board does not believe that the police officers involved in the intelligence operation are guilty of ethnic discrimination.

Means "proportionate"

"The operations were based on law and regulations, and as a premise, it had an acceptable objective and the means adopted by the Police officers to reach the objective seem to have been proportionate," Assistant Police Commissioner Väisänen adds.

According to him, the information obtained does not suggest that the practice would constitute discrimination based on ethnic background.

"Although the choice of the individuals as targets of the measures was influenced by their presumed ethnic origins, this has not been the only or determining reason for the measure to be taken."

In its decision, the Police Board has drawn the Helsinki Police Department's attention to the need to respect the aspects of non-discrimination and ethnic profiling ban in all Police operations.

On Saturday, around 100 people held a demonstration in Helsinki in solidarity with the Roma community of Finland and on behalf of their rights.

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