Police to enhance preventive work with Roma
To support the interaction between the Police and the Roma, the National Police Board has compiled a publication called The Police and the Roma – equality and cooperation questions.
The objective is to open new discussions and constructive contacts between the Police and the Roma, and to promote a broader understanding about the Police and Roma interaction.
- It is not only about a rich cultural heritage and cultural change but also about legal rights and obligations within the Finnish society, Chief Superintendent Måns Enqvist of the National Police Board, responsible editor of the publication, comments on the work.
- The long history of the Police contacts with the Roma is marked with a lot of prejudice and racism on both sides. It is time we recognise and change the attitudes and construct a new, non-discriminatory cooperation, Office Manager Päivi Majaniemi of the Finnish Roma Association offices, adds.
Support for preventive work
According to Chief Superintendent Enqvist, the underpinning reason for the novel approach is the wish of the Roma to enhance the preventive work in collaboration with the Police.
- Various Roma actors have become concerned for their own safety, and that of their close ones, as the erosion of a uniform cultural tradition has brought about fear and threat of uncontrollable violence.
Secondly, the Police feels the need to understand the safety or unsafety felt by various minority groups, including the Roma. The publication is underpinned by the Police preventive work strategy (2019–2023) which underlines the cooperation between the Police and minority groups.
Although the Roma is here seen as a separate population group, the publication is a part of a more extensively understood diversity in today’s Finland. Despite their common cultural background, the Finnish Roma do not constitute one uniform group. The Roma culture also has its own regional varieties.
Work for equality and non-discrimination enhanced
According to Chief Superintendent Enqvist, the core objective is to strengthen the work for equality and non-discrimination.
Moreover, the publication deals with the Police Code of Ethics and its practical implementation. The volume also contains background information and examples which inspire the reader to think closer what equality really means and how the obligation of the authorities is fulfilled in practice.
- The Police work is about the encounters between individuals: each customer has the constitutional right to be met as an individual, not as a representative of a certain group or cultural background. On the other hand, the publication asks which can be done in the name or on the basis of a culture, and what should not be accepted. All citizens are subject to the same, equal laws. We are all responsible for the materialisation of equality, Chief Superintendent Enqvist underlines.
Initiative from Roma community
The Roma community came up with this initiative in spring 2020 during a Roma actor and Police round-table under the Ministry of the Interior. Funded by the Ministry of the Interior, the National Police Board directed the production of the publication.
It contains updated information and examples which are important to discuss and highlight from both the Roma and from the Police work perspective. It is written to constitute educational material for the basic and further Police training. The publication is openly accessible at the Asakusa (Reviews) series of Police University College.