The use of “ethnic profiling” by European police forces dates back to well before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Since then, there is no doubt that the practice has become more widespread in Europe. But in terms of preventing or solving crimes, how useful is it?
A study published today by the Open Society Justice Initiative, which campaigns for law reform and the protection of human rights, argues that ethnic profiling is “may be pervasive, but it is inefficient, ineffective and discriminatory… Ethnic profiling strikes at the heart of the social compact linking law enforcement institutions with the communities they serve. It wastes police resources, discriminates against whole groups of people, and leaves everyone less safe.”