Interior Minister Paula Risikko and National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen promise a full investigation of openly racist comments posted in a secret Facebook group that includes about one third of Finland's police officers. They were published by the online investigative-news publication Long Play on Saturday.
"This matter will be thoroughly investigated," promised Risikko. "There must be completely zero tolerance for racism and all writings of this kind."
The in-depth article suggests that there is widespread, deeply ingrained racism within the police force, as well as the use of ethnic profiling, which is forbidden by the Aliens Act.
The National Police Board says, based on the article, that it will look into whether its monitoring of immigrants is entirely legal.
The board says it will hand over the leaked material published by the magazine to the Office of the Prosecutor General to determine whether a preliminary investigation should be launched.
National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen says that as the probe progresses, there will be an evaluation of whether charges should be brought for official wrongdoing under the terms of the Act on Civil Servants.
"It is essential for the sake of trust in the police that this matter be thoroughly investigated," Kolehmainen told Yle on Sunday.
Kolehmainen: Top brass aware of secret Facebook group
He said that police top brass were aware of the closed Facebook group, but emphasises that it is a secret group maintained by private individuals.
He adds that confidential information obtained as part of official duties may not be discussed using a private social media account, and that police must not behave in their free time in a manner that endangers the public's confidence in the police force.
The top cop promised that police leadership will intervene if inappropriate behaviour is found to have taken place.
The group has some 2,800 members. Last year there were about 7,250 police officers in Finland, not counting the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo).
Screenshots published by Long Play showed group members making crude jokes about an asylum seeker who attempted suicide and about rapper James Nikander, who performs under the name Musta Barbaari. There were also suggestions that foreigners should be required to wear identifying armbands.