Finnish police accused of ethnic profiling

by , under Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

A day after the police released a Somali who was under police custody for about seven months, the Ombudsman for Minorities expressed concern about ethnic profiling by the police, according to YLE

Rainer Hiltunen, the Minority Ombudsman’s head of office, said that he receives calls from foreigners who say they have been repeatedly questioned in the street by police. Some of those stopped are naturalized Finns and visible minorities.

The police deny any wrongdoing.

“If a person is stopped, they’re told why,” said Helsinki police inspector Jari Taponen, who denied hearing of any cases where people were not told why they were questioned by the police.

Helena Eronen, Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari’s new aide, suggested in a column today that a good way to help the police to distinguish immigrants from Finns would be to oblige people to wear sleeve badges.

This kind of “satire” coming especially from a Hirvisaari aide is in pretty bad taste.

Hirvisaari was fined for hate speech in December.

I remember being stopped a long time ago by the Finnish police on the freeway from Porvoo to Helsinki. We were three “foreign-looking” men inside a Skoda driving home when Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Pavel visited Finland in 1991.

One of the questions that surprised me by the policeman when we were pulled over was if I was a Finnish citizen. I refused to answer the policeman’s question because I thought it had nothing to do with whatever I was being stopped.

After a semi-long tug-of-war with the policeman, I told him that I was a Finnish citizen. He then told me that I had been pulled over because one of my headlamps was out.

If that was the reason why he stopped me, what did that have to do with me being a Finnish citizen or not?

  1. Farang

    Migrant Tales

    “I refused to answer the policeman’s question because I thought it had nothing to do with whatever I was being stopped.”

    And that really tells us something about yourself. No wonder people like you face problems, since you seem to be seeking them and causing them to yourselves. Instead of answering simple yes or no, you choose the hard way.

  2. I am

    Helena Eronen, Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari’s new aide, suggested in a column today that a good way to help the police to distinguish immigrants from Finns would be to oblige people to wear armbands.Ha ha ha ha

    Hi Enrique, MT, Dear all i mean Finns, foreigners, Immigrants, universe

    Now it is very intersting, i cant stop laughing ha ha ha, ha ha ha
    But my laughing has full of means. oh armbands????
    Where is here?
    I wish to wake up of this nightmare
    I wish a rain of peace on all of us

  3. justicedemon


    That last remark says far more about you than about Ricky.

    Anne Frank chose the hard way. The easy way was to report for resettlement in the East.

    Contrary to your servile attitude, Farang, neither the police nor any other public authority has unspecified powers. An enquiry concerning the nationality of a person stopped is only authorised when the individual cannot provide a name and identity number. Section 10 of the current Police Act makes this quite clear, and precisely the same formulation has been included in the new Police Act that will take effect at the beginning of 2014. The 1996 Police Act was in force at the time of the incident that Ricky describes, but here again a name, address and identity number was enough to establish identity, so any further request for details of nationality would be ultra vires.

    But let me guess – if a police officer ordered you to be at his house on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. sharp to wash his car, then you’d be there at 05.30.

  4. I am

    A Finnish police is who has a big support from law in Finland, Law in Finland needs to look equal to all of us, other wise i have no trust on, no no no
    If police breaks law no body asks him why u done that? Is it right ur idea?
    Law needs to know that police is one of us, a human like others and not an angel., sure there r nice police too.
    We r all different, if my hair has black colour it not means am guilty and so if Finnish police is white it no means that he is angel.
    White and black they are both worthy they r most beautiful when they are close to eachother, please immagine white and black colour on ur paper, or white and red, black and yellow, black and blue, white and green, rainbow, youhooooo
    Look at them
    Life is pretty
    Joy is our right

  5. Sasu

    Ei kannata ehkä ihan vielä sanoa mitään varmaa, mutta tilannetta on tarkailtava. Jos tälläinen toiminta alkaa muuttua ihan normaaliksi, meilä tulee olemaan paha ongelma poliisin uskostavuudessa. Muittakaa mitä Englannissa ja Ranskassa on tapahtunut. Mustien ja arabien luottamus poliiseihin katosi ja muuttui paikoitellen vihaksi, joka purkautui mellakoina.

  6. eyeopener

    The problem of Ms Eronen is that she lives in the wrong period of history. Or maybe even worse. She has no history.

    Beyond words.

    So PS simple.

  7. BlandaUpp

    This has happened to my wife quite a bit. I notice security people following us in malls or shops like Gigantti when she’s with me. I once confronted one security guard to ask why she was following us but she had no answer and just walked away.

    My wife also gets “randomly” stopped by traffic police at least once every 3 months whereas I never get stopped.

    • Migrant Tales

      Hi BlandaUpp, does the police tell her why they pulled her over? You should report it to the Ombudsman for Minorities. It’s always interesting to hear what they have to say about such a matter.

  8. BlandaUpp

    Hi Enrique. She’s never been told anything more than that it’s just a random stop and she’s never been given a ticket but her ID is normally checked thoroughly. Perhaps they find it strange that a black woman drives an expensive car? We haven’t reported it anywhere yet because she says she doesn’t want trouble but after seeing this report, I’m planning to do just that. It’s really uncomfortable and embarassing to see this happening here. It angers me! It makes me question my decision to moved my family back here 4 years ago because I wanted my kids to be raised in the culture I grew up in.

    • Migrant Tales

      BlandaUpp, I think it is important to report it. Even if nothing may come out of it, when there are more people complaining and reporting these things the authorities have no choice but to start doing something. The same goes for racial harassment. We should report it to the police because at the least it will show up on the statistics.

      Why don’t you ask your wife to ask the policemen why she is being stopped. I would if I were.

  9. Arinaitwe Roland

    Ladies and gentlemen, you can talk and debate but some of us foreigners here we are dry of words, may be thats what i can say. i would like some one to answer me, AM a foreigner of course, my child was born here in Finland, but when i got his travel document known as green passport i was suprised to find out that, the date of birth was indicated as unknown! may i know from any one why such thing was done yet all documents indicating that the child was born in Finland was submited and available to confirm that the child was born here? kiitos.