Growing extremism culture in police forces across Europe, study warns | Domestically

According to a report produced by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), police forces across Europe are suffering from a growing “culture of extremism”. The report warns of an increase in the number of agents sharing racist and far-right content online across Europe.

In France, 81% of police officers said they would vote for far-right politician Marine Le Pen. In France, Belgium, Germany and Hungary, former senior police officers have even run for far-right parties in municipal and parliamentary elections.

In the UK, many officers have embarrassed their forces by sharing cases of racism online. For example, authorities shared pictures of two murdered black sisters via WhatsApp. Another group of officers appeared to joke about raping, killing black children, and beating black women.

This is not a new problem in Belgium either. In 2018, then-Chief Inspector Ginny Beals already had a case regarding reports of racism in Mechelen. In a What’s App group, ‘Why should I shake your hand? I don’t like your color.” In the wake of this case, several cases of racism within Belgian police forces emerged.

Positioning as a victim

Liz Fekete, director of the IRR, said: “Racism in policing is entrenched as police officers transform themselves into victims of society and increasingly organize themselves around an extremist agenda.

The report also warns of the link between racist attitudes and operational practice. Amnesty International’s Elias Nagty says research is important, especially as ideas about “alternative approaches to public security” gain ground.

Ferdinand Woolridge

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