An extract from a document with the Skåne police's decision to keep a database of Roma people.
Roma database could constitute discrimination

Police order inquiry after accusations of racial profiling

A spokesperson for the police in Skåne, southern Sweden said Friday the force was "horrified" by criticism of their illegal database of Roma people, which Sweden's equality ombudsman said could be an example of racial profiling.

"To us, the database is a sign that discrimination could occur," the equality ombudsman, Agneta Broberg, told newspaper Dagens Nyheter, which revealed the existence of the database in the autumn of 2013.

Previously, the Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protection, which is accepting claims for compensation from members of the Roma community, established that the Skåne police's database was illegal on a number of counts. However, the Skåne police has said the database was simply set up as part of an intelligence operation investigating specific crimes.

The equality ombudsman took issue with the titles of the database. "If the purpose was not to chart Roma people then there does not seem to be any reasonable explanation for the original title, which was Conflict, Staffanstorp Roma," Broberg wrote in an evaluation.  Police first set up the database after a row broke out between Roma families at a 2009 christening party  in the town of Staffanstorp. The database's title later changed to Travellers, a name which could also be tied to Roma people, the ombudsman argued.

The Skåne police have not offered an explanation for why so many children were registered in the database. On this matter, the ombudsman said: "The share of children is so large that we cannot rule out that the police has mapped out family relations in a way that is reminiscent of racial profiling." 

Monica Nebelius, chief legal counsel at the Skåne police, told news agency TT that it was "terrible" that the force is being linked to racial profiling and discrimination of Roma people.

Nebelius said the police will order an external review and will ask the equality ombudsman to help find suitable individuals to conduct it.

"This should be done in the right way so that nobody can question whether we're taking this seriously."

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