Finnish police officers accused of racism

The wave of revelations and repentances, raised in the United States following the death of George Floyd a year ago, has reached Finland.

The other day, a new wave of racist scandals was unleashed against police officers in Finland. According to journalists of the state broadcaster Yle, about 1,000 complaints about police misconduct are received annually from members of ethnic minorities living in the country.

Those interviewed reported instances of “racist remarks” or “inappropriate behavior” by colleagues. One such case was evidenced by a videotape made nearly eight years ago in which police officers were heard swearing, insulting and making racist remarks about an immigrant detainee.

Finland’s Attorney General’s Office reviewed about 30 allegations of racist behavior by police officers between 2018 and 2020. But none of them resulted in criminal prosecution or at least disciplinary action. Only two law enforcement officers have been fired for racism in recent years, in both cases for posts on Facebook.

Members of ethnic minorities themselves complain that the mere fact of a “suspicious” ethnic background can serve as a reason for prejudicial treatment. For example, police in Helsinki have been stopping Roma on the roads and recording information about their movements and vehicles for years.

Some of the guests become criminals, engaging in robbery, murder, violence and even terrorist attacks – yet these are quite few. Päivi Nerg, head of the Office of the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, notes that a large part of the rejected migrants will remain in the country illegally, leading to the growth of the shadow economy.

However, protests are also held by those who defend the opposite viewpoint, such as activists in the “Close the Borders! (Rajat kiinni!). They insist that the state should pay more attention to the needs of its own citizens than to those of migrants. “Reception centers prefer to give refugees rather than the homeless. It’s the same situation all over the country. Migrants only want an easier life and without the labor of money receive