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Thursday, 19 May, 2022
Home NATIONALEthnic profiling clearly a problem in police
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Many people believe that the police still profile people based on ethnic origins, even though the law prohibits profiling went into force last year, said equality expert Rainer Hiltunen.
“All current monitoring activities have failed to meet the accuracy requirement of the legislation. Supervision shall be based on observations or analysis of information on illegal presence in the country,” said Non-Discrimination Ombudsman's Office Director Hiltunen.
“The police, therefore, need to change their operational practices,” Hiltunen said.
 Hiltunen said ethnic profiling has clearly been a problem in the police sector for the last 10 years.
“The latest proof of this is the conversations that happened in the spring and, for example, Musta Barbaari’s case,” Hiltunen added.
Hiltunen referred to the Facebook post on Sunday by Musta Barbaari under his real name James Nikander in which he described how his mother and sister were put in handcuffs in downtown Helsinki by plainclothesmen. The police said they were monitoring for illegal aliens at the time.
In the spring, the non-discrimination ombudsman requested from the Helsinki police a report on illegal alien monitoring, which has been the focus of many complaints of ethnic profiling. 
The report on the matter has not yet been completed.
The police are currently searching for illegal aliens residing in Finland. Detective Chief Inspector Henri Helminen said external physical characteristics are only part of the assessment, on which those to be inspected are selected.
“First, we go somewhere with many people, and then we observe who could be an illegal alien. We speak with them and determine their country of origin. They should be able, then, to produce their documents,” Helminen said.
The police, therefore, in practice, profile those they speak with, but according to Helminen, they then determine themselves how to proceed, based on the information gained during the conversations. The police may take foreigners with them to carry out checks in public places, and the police have the right to demand residency documents including ID cards.
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