Defining white Finnish privilege #32: The white Finnish police service and “them”

by , under Enrique Tessieri

If there is an institution that is the epitome of white Finnish privilege that is doing everything possible to hinder cultural and ethnic diversity among its ranks, that institution is the Finnish police service. 

Am I exaggerating?

Just go to the police service’s online pages and you will not find a single person who is a visible minority.

Gathering from the police service’s website, women are well-represented but nothing, absolutely nothing, is said about visible minorities never mind the police’s sensitivity towards our ever-growing culturally diverse community.

Visit the Finnish police service’s web page here.

Definition #32

The fact that there isn’t a single visible minority on the Finnish police websites shows us that they are far behind the times of other European nations like the United Kingdom and Sweden.

There must be a lot of opposition to cultural diversity as well if  a recent poll showed that about half of the police surveyed claimed to have voted for the National Coalition Party and the anti-immigration populists Perussuomalaiset.*

Read the full story here.

How long does the Finnish police plan to discourage visible minorities from forming part of the police? How long will it take before Muslim women can wear hijabs like in Scotland and be police officers?

Since the police are public servants that serve all people living in this country irrespective of their background. Even so, it seems that diversity continues to have a low priority in the Finnish police service.

We got a sour taste of how the police go as far as to classify who is a so-called “real” Finn and who is a person of foreign origin.

In March 2015, many of us read about a rape case in the Helsinki neighborhood of Tapanila committed by 15-18-year-olds.  The police released a statement after the suspects were in police custody and identified them as “five people with foreign backgrounds.”

When Migrant Tales called the police officer in charge of the case and asked if those held in custody were born in Finland and were Finnish citizens, I got the following answer: “I don’t know exactly if all of them are citizens or not because this isn’t an essential piece of information in the case. But some are [Finnish citizens].”

Not an essential piece of information?! The police labeled with one statement that people with foreign backgrounds, which is code for the non-white person, as rapists.

White privilege gives white Finn’s power and privilege and this is clearly evident in the way the Finnish police operates with respect to minorities.

Instead of politicians telling us how much they are against racism, they should do something concrete about challenging structural racism by incorporating more visible minorities to the Finnish police service.

By hiring more visible minorities to the police service will not only help to increase trust between different ethnic communities and the police but help to tackle issues like ethnic profiling, which the police service denies today.


See also:

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party 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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”