Are the Swedish police racially biased? A study about potential racial profiling by Swedish Police Authority

University essay from Lunds universitet/Sociologiska institutionen; Lunds universitet/Socialhögskolan; Lunds universitet/Sociologi

Abstract: Racial profiling is something that has been occurring in different contexts and countries for decades. When discussing the topic, it usually refers to the police authority conducting direct or indirect racial profiling of individuals who seem suspicious or that have foreign appearance compared to the native population. My focus is specifically on the recent debate of potential racial profiling by the Swedish Police Authority in Sweden that has been uncovered by the investigative TV programme “Kalla Fakta”. There is a lack of knowledge and research done on racial profiling in Sweden and therefore there is a relevance for this study to be conducted. Racial profiling has been going on previously with the REVA programme, Roma register and internal immigration controls. These programmes aimed to either through ID-controls find individuals who do not have asylum in Sweden and deport them, or it was about framing criminal networks. The aim of this compilation and comparative analysis of different studies and data sources is therefore to research and analyse if racial profiling by the Swedish police exists, and if so, how it affects the individual, community and police in Sweden, which is also the research question. The sub-question will be analysing possible solutions to avoiding or decreasing the use of racial profiling by law enforcement. The theories I will be using are conflict theory, consensus theory, critical race theory and focal concerns theory, since I deem them helpful and applicable for this topic since they explain how racial profiling occurs and why. The key conclusions are that the majority of Swedish law enforcement denies that there is a practice of racial profiling in their daily work, even though they admit there are “bad” cops among them. This however does not rule out the evidence presented and solve the issue that many persons feel affected by racial profiling on a daily basis in Sweden.

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