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Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

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Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment
10:08 CEST+02:00
Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance."

The authorities in Västernorrland put a notice on its website in August looking for information about a burglary. One of the suspects was referred to by the police as having a "Baltic" look while the other was said to have a "Roma appearance" in the online post. 

Sweden's recently formed Commission against anti-gypsyism (Kommissionen mot antiziganism) reacted to the wording of the statement and contacted the police for an explanation.

The Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen - DO) are now involved in the matter after being made aware of the original report.

"We believe that this issue linking Roma to criminality only contributes to help maintain the stereotyped picture of Roma," Heidi Pikkarainen, head secretary of the Commission against anti-gypsyism, told the local Dagbladet newspaper.

The organization was only set up six months by the government in response to the revelations that police in southern Sweden had kept a Roma registry.

However, the police in Västernorrland have defended the wording of the statement. They said it was made after careful consideration and was based on witness statements.

Sweden's National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) didn't agree and said the publication of the statement contravened existing rules and regulations.

The Commission against anti-gypsyism said they were pleased the National Police Board had distanced themselves from the wording of the statement.

Pikkarainen added that she welcomed the news on Friday that the state's equality watchdog were investigating the matter.

The county police commissioner in Västernorrland said they would take the feedback onboard.

"In future we will avoid these types of publications," Thomas Nilsson told Dagbladet.

Sweden's Equality Ombudsman has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.  

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