Europe rights groups urges racial profiling ban

Subscribe to Oneindia News

PARIS, Oct 4 (Reuters) Racial profiling by police should be banned as it alienates the very communities whose cooperation police need to beat crime and terrorism, a European rights group said today.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) report said only intelligence-based police action could win public support and produce results.

In its non-binding report the ECRI called on police to win over ethnic communities by improving the recording and investigation of race crimes and combating discrimination by serving officers.

Since the 2001 attacks on the United States, rights groups say there has been a surge in the use of racial profiling by police and security services to identify possible suspects, with race, colour or language among key criteria used.

''Racial profiling is not effective and is conducive to less, not more, human security,'' said the report by the ECRI, which is part of the Council of Europe human rights watchdog based in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.

''It is trust in the police by all segments of society that enhances overall security,'' it said.

Rachel Neild, of the group National Criminal Justice Reform, told a conference on the report that ethnic profiling was in most cases illegal, as it treated people for who they were not what they had done.

Following terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid and London in the past six years, 32 percent of British Muslims had reported suffering discrimination at airports, she said.

''There is considerable evidence that profiling is ineffective as a police tactic and may in fact worsen crime and the risk of terrorism,'' Neild said.

''It alienates the very communities whose assistance is most important to supporting police intelligence gathering and crime prevention and investigation efforts.'' Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei at Scotland Yard, one of the most senior Muslim officers in Britain, said 70 percent of crime was solved thanks to community intelligence -- members of the public approaching the police.

''It's the life-blood by which police deliver service to the community. No community intelligence, nobody goes to prison,'' Dizaei said.

''Community intelligence doesn't come on a plate. You need to win the confidence of the community and that's where these recommendations come in,'' he added.

Dizaei said Muslims at one mosque had told him they had known one of their brethren had been acting strangely but had not contacted police. The man went on to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel.

''The local Muslim community had no trust and confidence in the police and therefore there was no community intelligence and this person was able to operate, become radicalised and go and kill and maim other people,'' Dizaei said.

REUTERS JK RAI1943

Please Wait while comments are loading...