Thousands of police officers are believed to be members of a secret online discussion group rife with both fake news and racist commentary.

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A number of police officers have made racist comments in a secret discussion group on Facebook, reports Long Play, an independent publisher of long-form journalism.

Long Play revealed late last week that the more than a hundred screenshots it has obtained of the discussions indicate that police officers are widely slandering people of different ethnic, national and religious backgrounds.

Examples of such racism include ridiculing the asylum seeker who attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself from a tree at Helsinki Railway Square in March.

The discussion group is also used to share articles and other contents about immigration produced by organisations known for disseminating spurious reports and outright propaganda, such as MV-Lehti, Suomen Sisu and Britain First. The Facebook group has more than 2,800 members, according to Long Play.

Finland does not tolerate racism by police officers under any circumstances, Paula Risikko (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, emphasised to STT on Friday.

She also promised that an inquest into the allegations will be launched.

The National Police Board, in turn, issued a press release indicating that it is aware of the discussion group where the racist comments have allegedly been made. “Everyone writing to the page is personally responsible for what they publish. Regardless of its name, the group may also include members who are not police officers,” a police spokesperson reminds in the press release.

The National Police Board says it has also urged the chiefs of various police divisions to address any possible wrongdoings on social media.

“The police have a zero tolerance in regards to racism and the reported wrongdoings will be addressed. Also police officers have the right to freedom of speech, but it is limited under the legislation. The Police Act obliges police officers to conduct themselves in a way that does not jeopardise public trust in the police also in their free time,” the press release reads.

“Appropriate conduct is one of the cornerstones of policing. All members of the police organisation are for their part responsible for ensuring they do not act or encourage others to act in a discriminatory or disparaging way.”

CORRECTION: Corrected the name of Helsinki Railway Square.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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