National Police Board issued further recommendations to prevent discrimination in police operations

Publication date 2.6.2023 12.57 | Published in English on 5.6.2023 at 8.22
News item

Two years ago, the National Police Board issued a reprimand to Helsinki Police Department in respect of a mid-2010s prevention and information collection operation (KURI1) targeted at the Roma population.

Legality control has continued since then and established among other things the scope of the operation, the rationale for the measures, the results achieved by the operation and the use and management of the information collected.

Based on the investigation by the National Police Board, the operation was found in itself to have achieved results and to have had an impact on the root causes leading to its initiation, but some additional comments were also made in the further investigation. 

- Trust from citizens in all population groups is absolutely necessary in police operations. A practice targeted at a certain population group cannot constitute part of normal police operations and nor may an individual’s rights ever be intervened in based solely on their ethnic background, says Deputy National Police Commissioner Janne Paavola at the National Police Board.

Paavola points out that in recent years the police have taken many development measures to promote non-discriminatory treatment.

- The guidelines have been updated and police units have held several training events dealing with the banning of ethnic profiling and the prevention of discrimination.

- It has become mandatory for all police officers to complete e-training dealing with non-discrimination issues and matters have also been discussed with representatives of the Roma community. The police will also continue to further develop activities to promote non-discriminatory treatment going forward.

Investigation expanded to the entire police administration

In May 2021, the National Police Board became aware that in the mid-2010s, Helsinki Police Department had operated a prevention and information collection project known as KURI1, which, based on information received, was particularly targeted at the Roma population. The National Police Board initiated an autonomous legality control investigation of the project concerned and issued its decision on the matter on 3 June 2021. 

Relating to the decision of the National Police Board, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman issued an opinion concerning further consideration of the matter to the Ministry of the Interior and to the National Police Board on 21 December 2021. Due to the opinion, in spring 2022 the National Police Board started further investigation of the KURI1 operation. In the same context, the existence of other similar projects was investigated nationwide.

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