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Police: Asylum seekers suspects in 25 rapes out of over 1,000 cases

The total number of rapes reported in 2015 reached just over 1,000, police said in a press conference Friday. Of that number, foreign nationals were suspects in 217 cases and asylum seekers in 25.

Poliisin info turvapaikanhakijoiden tilanteesta.
Members of the police administration at a press conference discussing crimes by immigrants and asylum seekers. Image: Yle

Members of the police administration gathered members of the media at a press conference Friday morning to shed light on crime statistics in Finland.

Police revealed that that there has been a rise of just under 3 percent in crimes committed by foreign nationals in 2015 compared to 2014.  Assault cases increased 24 percent over the one-year period while rapes rose by 20 percent to reach 217 by the end of last year.

Asylum seekers were suspects in 25 cases of rape and aggravated rape altogether. Additionally, they were involved in 22 cases of sexual harassment and two instances of forced sexual acts.

Police Inspector Tommi Reen pointed out that since the total number of rapes reported last year was just over one-thousand, foreign nationals and asylum seekers accounted for a relatively small proportion of these crimes.

National police commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen also said that he didn’t want to label all asylum seekers as criminals.

Police chief: Change in environment

Last year more than 32,000 asylum seekers entered the country. Police chief Kolehmainen said that under the circumstances, police has performed well last year. He noted however, that the operating environment had changed in 2015 alone than in decades.

He said that while police were somewhat concerned about the direction in which the situation was developing, police had the security situation under control.

Police said that the presence of a large number of asylum seekers had resulted mainly in emergency calls to intervene in cases such as squabbles among reception centre residents.

Police also revealed that there had been some 17 attacks on asylum seeker reception centres up to mid-January; four had been fire bomb attacks, while others included different forms of vandalism.

Asked about the spread of street patrols in response to the asylum seeker arrivals, police chief Kolehmainen said that the concept of the patrols is in itself off the mark, adding that the police would not accept any patrols that are racist in nature.

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