Defining white Finnish privilege #23: Greater police powers to monitor migrants and minorities

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Finnish white privilege, like any majority culture’s privilege, not only permeates in our institutions but marks the pace of how those with no privilege are treated in this society. Granting the police greater monitoring powers [1] to carry out arbitrary checks on migrants, and subsequently on non-white Finns, is a case in point in white Finnish privilege. 

Writes YLE in English:

New legislative changes came into force in May allowing police and border guard officials to perform immigration checks as part of their everyday duties, without any prior suspicion of crime. The wider powers will allow officers to conduct thorough inspections of business premises as part of their work.

The goal of the legal reform is to clarify the jurisdiction of police and border guards. Previously police were only able to investigate business premises for possible immigration offences if they suspected a crime had been committed.

The Council of Europe, and other anti-racism activists in Finland and abroad, have expressed concern about ethnic profiling by the police.

The Council of Europe anti-racism body, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), published its fourth report last year where it expressed concern over ethnic profiling by the police in Finland, reports YLE in English.

The ECRI report said that the police in Finland have the right to question foreign-looking people in places where they are believed to be causing problems.

But who are those “foreign-looking” people? Who defines what is “foreign-looking” and why does the police service still consider a Finn to be only white?

Definition #23

Taking into account that ethnic or racial profiling is an issue in Finland as well as in other European countries, it’s clear that these new powers not only will fuel ethnic profiling by the police but undermine as well the rights of migrants and non-white Finns to be treated equally before the law.

Taking into account the right-wing government and the fact that the populist anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* are in government, such new powers to the police service are just another example of how this country is becoming ever-xenophobic.

Why are the police only monitoring migrants at business premises? Why don’t they carry out such searches to everyone living in this country irrespective of their ethnic background? Is it because white Finns would be outraged because they will not have their privilege undermined?

As usual, the Finnish media appears to be disinterested about these new police powers and how it will affect migrants and non-white Finns.

Nothing new here.

See also:

[1] Thank you Ingrid Tiihonen for the heads-up.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English 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.