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Is there evidence or indication that the police force engages in ethnic profiling?

Key Area:
Policing - Law Enforcement - Justice
Racism, Discrimination
14/01/2012 - 02:18
Short Answer


Qualitative Info


The Cyprus ENAR report 2007 ( claims that “racial profiling is not an uncommon practice of the police, although this is not officially admitted”. Citing the NGO KISA, the report suggested that there is a police practice of racial profiling of Turkish (Kurds), Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin, who have repeatedly submitted complaints to the Ombudsman and the Independent Authority for Investigation of Claims and Complaints against Members of the Police Force”.

In its latest report on Cyprus published in 2011, ECRI also expressed concern over incidents of racial profiling which have occurred recently in Cyprus and referred to the televised police hunt for undocumented migrants of 25.09.2009, which had also been the subject of an equality body investigation. The incident involved a massive police operation in the early hours of 25 September 2009, during which police arrested 150 migrants. The police stated that the operation was conducted primarily to execute 21 arrest warrants and 25 search orders in connection with incidents outside a mosque the previous month. The operation, which involved road blocks and the use of handcuffs, received high media attention and was shown on all TV channels. It was the centre of debate for weeks afterwards. The Equality Body criticised the police for their disproportionate reaction and for spreading xenophobia, noting that many arrests were made without warrants or any objective elements justifying a suspicion that the persons concerned had committed an offense; arrests were based on the mere fact that the persons in question lived in a certain area or on their ethnic origin. The Commissioner’s report recommended that racial profiling should be clearly defined and prohibited by law and the police should reinforce measures against this practice by issuing clear guidelines. It also repeated its earlier recommendation that the police should consider hiring migrants as police officers as a measure to reinforce trust between the police and the migrant community and that legal obstacles such as the requirement for police officers to have Cypriot nationality should be lifted.

Groups affected/interested Migrants, Refugees, Asylum seekers
Type (R/D) Anti-migrant/xenophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Policing - law enforcement
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