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States must do more to stamp out ethnic profiling, says PACE committee

European States must pass laws to ban “ethnic profiling”, if they have not already done so, and encourage police forces to take stronger action against racist behaviour, PACE’s Equality Committee has said.

Approving a draft resolution, based on a report by Boriss Cilevičs (Latvia, SOC), during a meeting today by teleconference, the committee pointed out that the discriminatory practice of ethnic profiling – when police stop or investigate people without objective grounds based on their ethnicity – was still “widespread” across Europe.

The practice contributed to prejudice, stigmatised parts of the population, undermined public confidence in the police, and reduced the efficiency of police work by making it more predictable, the committee said.

The parliamentarians called on political leaders and police chiefs to condemn the practice clearly, and called for records to be kept of “stop and search” operations, as well as clear identification of officers engaged in such operations.

They also urged anti-racism training for police, well-resourced independent complaints mechanisms, and greater implementation of relevant recommendations by the Council of Europe’s anti-racism body ECRI.