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Police Board clears police of unlawful ethnic profiling in immigration monitoring

An investigation of immigration enforcement by the National Police Board has found no evidence of unlawful ethnic profiling by police. The board pointed out, however, that some form of ethnic profiling is permitted.

Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The National Police Board says it has found no evidence of prohibited ethnic profiling in immigration monitoring conducted by police. The board launched the probe following an article on the subject by the investigative journalism site Long Play earlier in the summer.

According to the National Police Board, the probe found no evidence of prohibited ethnic profiling by police.

"During the investigation we foudn four cases in which civil servants engaged in prohibited ethnic profiling, but on the basis of the probe there was nothing in the officials' actions to censure," the board said in a statement Tuesday.

Discriminatory ethnic profiling is prohibited and refers to situations in which as a result of police action, an individual is subjected to police scrutiny entirely on the basis of his or her appearance.

Possible to lodge complaints

The board said that while ethnic profiling can be unlawful, it is sometimes permitted.

"Ethnic profiling is permitted in cases where for justified reasons, there is a need to reach an individual and things like distinguishing features about that person are provided based on appearance," the board explained in the statement.

The report produced by the police board found that for the most part, training on the subject among law enforcement officers has been comprehensive.

"It is possible to file a complaint about police activity, if people feel that they have been targeted by unlawful ethnic profiling," added police chief inspector Pekka-Matias Väisänen.