The registries, built up in 2011 and 2012 as part of efforts to combat crime in Skåne stemming from a family dispute, came to be used for much more than what they were originally intended, according to an initial review of the registries carried out by officials from the Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protection (Säkerhets- och integritetsskyddsnämnden – SIN).
“It seems more and more that it became something of a ‘good to have registry’ when it came to Roma,” SIN chair Sigurd Heuman told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
Not only were the registries used for police work unrelated to the family feud that led to their creation, but they was also used by the Migration Board to help assess residence permit applications when questions arose about the veracity of information included in the application.
“They (migration officials) would then turn to criminal intelligence services that have this registry in order to check someone’s identity,” said Heuman.
“From what I understand, the Migration Board would call the police and ask, ‘Can you check this person?’.”
The Migration Board denied the claims later on Tuesday afternoon, and Heuman claimed as a result that he “expressed himself wrongly”.
Fredrik Bengtsson at the Migration Board confirmed that Heuman had admitted to providing inaccurate details.
“He told us that there was no subsance in the statement that we have used the register,” he told the TT news agency.
Heuman also rejected claims made by police last week that the database didn’t constitute a registry based on ethnicity.
“The registry basically consists only of Roma, and people who are married to Roma,” he told DN.
He was also critical of the fact that there is no way to see who of the more than 4,000 people found in the registry were actually suspected of crimes and who were not.
The existence of two registries was revealed and confirmed by police last week, the first, containing over 4,000 names of mostly Roma people was revealed on Monday by DN and it’s existence was initially denied by police.
By Tuesday, another registry with around 1,000 names was revealed. Many of the people named are children, some as young as two.
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.
SIN expects to release the findings of its probe of the Skåne police launched following the Roma registry revelations in mid-November.