The police spot check “foreigners” Friday in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa but it’s not called ethnic profiling

by , under Enrique Tessieri

If there is an institution that discriminates and maintains white Finnish privilege in this country, it is the police service. A story by tabloid Iltalehti reports that the police service together with the Finnish Border Guard wilfully targetted foreigners for spot identity checks in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. 

Inspector Johanna Sinivuori told Iltalehti that the spot checks, which were done after 11 pm on Friday, were carried out with the help of Finnish Border Guard officials.

“Certainly when we do this with the Finnish Border Guard, who use different uniforms [than us], it may raise some eyebrows,” she said.

Raise some eyebrows? What about raising a question: Is this ethnic profiling or not?

Since this is an unfriendly question to ask a representative of the police service, the inspector is left off the hook by the reporter.

Näyttökuva 2016-4-2 kello 19.22.11
Read full story here.

When the police service and Finnish Border Guard stop “foreigners” or “foreign-looking people” for their IDs the question we should ask is what does a foreigner look like?

One of the issues that the police service has never admitted to is ethnic profiling. Fortunately in 2015, an anti-ethnic profiling law came into force.

There is as well a new study coming out from Turku University that should shed needed light on this matter for visible minorities.

Isn’t it surprising that minorities such as the Roma, who number about 10,000 in Finland, are never asked by the media if they see themselves as victims of ethnic profiling by the police?

Former Christian Democrat Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen said in 2012 that the police service didn’t do anything wrong or was ethnically profiling anyone with spot identity checks of foreigners.

The Council of Europe expressed concern in 2013 about ethnic profiling by the Finnish police service.

“There is one [regulation] which increases the risk of racial profiling by the police, so this is the police singling out people based simply on the basis of their visible appearance,” Council of Europe communications officer Andrew Cutting told YLE News. “Another issue [the report] raises is that foreigners can be detained whilst their identity can be ascertained in certain situations, and that this too is discriminatory.”

A survey in March showed that that about half of those polled voted for the National Coalition Party (NCP) and the Perussuomalaiset (PS).* Both parties, especially the latter, bases its popularity on spreading bigotry and anti-immigration urban tales of certain migrant groups like Muslims.

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.” 

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