Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Adiscussion group for Finnish police officers has been rife with racism on Facebook.

A Finnish online publication focused on investigative journalism, Long Play, had received over 100 screenshots of the discussions between police officers where they, for example, comment on recent news related to immigrants and refugees.

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When an asylum seeker tried to hang himself from a tree at the Railway Square in early March but was taken down and hospitalized, a policeman commented the news: “They can’t even do that properly.”

Another participant in the discussions said that people with African heritage don’t succeed in any part of the world. “The reasons are likely cultural and genetic and because of that partly inheritable regardless of the individual.”

According to Detective Inspector Marko “Fobba” Forss, a former moderator in the forum, a bulletin had been released in the group where its members were advised to rational discussions. The bulletin also reminded the group members of personal responsibility. According to Forss, the moderators had interfered with inappropriate messages a few times before as well.

Forss resigned from the group in late February because according to a screenshot, he was afraid that if the material was leaked “it would look bad as hell if it became public.” He also once again reminded the group that they have tried to moderate inappropriate messages in the forum and that its members should also interfere with the inappropriate discussion.

Later in the spring, Forss was appointed the investigator in charge in a national group investigating hate speech on the internet.

According to National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen, the senior management was aware of the Facebook group but it wasn’t aware of its content, nature or details. “Police personnel have an obligation to interfere with serious crimes that are mostly related to crimes that are threatening one’s life or health (in their free time). In that regard, those police officers that were part of the group didn’t have an obligation to report inappropriate action according to the Police Act,” he said. “Now when we have received more detailed information about the actions of the group, the information has been shared with the Prosecutor General,” said Kolehmainen.