Police study on immigration paints a threatening and bleak picture of Finland’s ever-growing culturally diverse society

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Weird things happen when an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* get power and partner with two other mainstream parties, the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP), which have done too little to tackle racism and discrimination in Finland.  One of the many things that can happen is a study, “Immigration, Security and Foresight,”  published with the blessings of the council of state. 

The council of state, which is the body that directs the Finnish government and which commissioned the above study from the Police University College of Finland, paints a bleak picture of our country’s ever-growing culturally diverse society by exaggerating and blaming migrants for high crime rates, future riots, and social unrest.

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Read full report here.

Two of the people that authored this work stated in December that attempts by anarchists to silence neo-Nazis on independence day and the plunge in the polls of the Perussuomalaiset party “show how much in crisis [Finnish] democracy is.” 

Is democracy in crisis if people oppose neo-Nazi groups marching in downtown Helsinki or if we see support in the polls plummet for a populist anti-immigration party?

Some, like Christian Thibault, executive director of Liikkukaa – Sports for All, believe that some parts of the study reinforce what anti-racism groups have been saying all along: the integration program doesn’t work and requires more funds and attention.

Some of the conclusions made in the study sound like they are directly from a “migrants and Muslims for dummies” booklet. It shows little depth and the authors appear to be more interested in putting their opinions first about our culturally diverse society rather than treat the topic seriously and critically.   

On top of the latter, the authors commit a common mistake that exposes their entitlement by claiming the following:

“We hope that the report supports the Government’s ability build security in collaboration with various stakeholders, such as local government, civic and labor organizations, religious communities and the media.”

The experts that the authors don’t but should mention are migrants and minorities as well.

Another factor that raises a lot of questions about this report is that it doesn’t tell us what methodology was used to arrive at such conclusions.

There are many good studies on Somalis in Finland. One of these is Somalis in Helsinki, which wasn’t used by the authors.

In a nutshell, the study by the Police University College exaggerates, labels and washes the hands of white Finnish society for many of the social problems that migrants and minorities face in Finland.

A sentence that highlights the latter to the tee is the following claim:

“Open discrimination (in Finland there is on average less discrimaintion due to ethnic and national background than in the EU and OECD countries on average; the number of those who have experienced ethnic disctiminatoin and social inequility quite small; national social policy supports multiculturalism…[1]

If we look at many comprehensive studies in Finland on minorities like Somalis and how some third-culture children are treated at schools, we can conclude that there is a lot of denial in Finland about racism. The “Immigration, Security and Foresight” study reinforces this.

Another important question that should be asked the authors is what best practices did they employ to avoid labelling all migrants and Other Finns? I asked Pirjo Jukarainen in December this question. She didn’t answer my question.

There is no mention in the study about this either or a warning that the conclusions cannot be used to label all migrants and minorities in Finland.

The background of the authors expose pretty well why such a study arrived at such conclusions.

The authors are:  

  • Kari Laitinen is a special researcher at the Finnish Police University College;
  • Jukarainen works as a researcher at the Finnish Police University College;
  • Henrik Boberg is another researcher at the Finnish Police University College who has worked for the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo).

Is this a serious study about Finland’s ever-growing culturally diverse society?

In a way, it is because it sheds light on the fear-mongering and denial of the police service to the social challenges that migrants and minorities face today in Finland. The message by the study and police service is clear: Foreigners and cultural diversity are a threat, not an asset.

The other message that the study offers is that more money and resources should be allocated to the police service to keep matters under control.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.

[1] See page 163.

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