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Hundreds contact police over Roma registry

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Hundreds contact police over Roma registry
07:19 CEST+02:00
After news that police in southern Sweden were keeping illegal registries about members of the Roma community, the police station has been inundated with calls from people wanting to know if they too are on the list.

"There have been several hundred who have called wanting confirmation of whether their names are there," Lars Förstell of the Skåne police told the Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The existence of two registries has been revealed and confirmed by police this week, the first, containing over 4,000 names of mostly Roma people was revealed on Monday by DN and was initially denied by the local police authorities.

By Tuesday, another registry with around 1,000 names was revealed. Many of the people named are children, some as young as two.

When asked how police officers handle the callers, Förstell explained that there was a clear process.

"We don't say so much. We have a number of people who fill in pre-printed forms for those seeking information. Then it is handled by our legal section. An answer is then sent out to the address of the person who called," he told the paper.

Förstell confirmed that it was "absolutely" possible to be removed from the list, though the deputy chief of police said on Tuesday that the entire lists would be destroyed. When asked how he interprets such a huge interest, he responded that he has "every understanding" that people want to know.

The existence of the registries, has sparked fury and embarrassment across Sweden. Justice Minister Beatrice Ask apologized on Wednesday and asked for forgiveness.

The Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen -DO) will also launch an investigation to determine whether the people on the registry were subjected to any kind of discrimination based on the police list.

According to lawyers interviewed by DN, the database breaks a number of laws, including the European Convention on Human Rights, police data laws, and the law against general police surveillance registries.

TT/The Local/og

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