News in brief

Helsinki police have published a report confirming the existence of an operation that involved monitoring the activities of members of the Finnish Roma community between 2013 and 2015. 

Last week, Yle published a report outlining information it had received suggesting police were tracking the movements of Roma people in the Helsinki metropolitan area, keeping a detailed record on which cars they drove and whom they interacted with, as well as whether they had weapons in their possession.

The operation, which was given the code name KURI 1, granted police the authority to stop and detain anyone belonging to the Roma community using a low threshold of suspicion for violations, which is indicative of ethnic profiling. 

While the Helsinki Police Department initially denied accusations of profiling, they stated that “mistakes” had been made. The National Police Board, which launched an investigation into the claims, recently received an internal report from the department. 

Until yesterday, the board refused to allow media access to the details of the report, stating that it contained classified information. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the Helsinki Police Department took it upon themselves to share the report with the Finnish media.

In a press release, police claim that they began investigating the Finnish Roma people in October 2013, after a series of violent incidents took place within the community. The incidents in question allegedly involved the use of firearms and threatened the safety of innocent bystanders. 

The KURI 1 project reportedly began as a means of preventing potentially dangerous situations. Police also claim to have collaborated with the community throughout the duration of the operation. While they admit to carrying out surveillance from 2013–2015, multiple sources indicate the activities only ended in the summer of 2017. 


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times