Police Profiling in Other Countries

How is police profiling treated in other countries? I mean how legal is it there? I am talking about racial, ethnic and religious profiling–and maybe others. And by other countries, I mean western Europe, eastern Europe, Canada, Mexico. Heck, even the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Notice I put this in General Questions. I am not looking for a moral debate on the subject. Just a factual inquiry into what laws in other countries allow.


Because of how close the USA is to Canada, and social issues tend to spill over, the social justice imperative is equally of concern in Canada. Of course, we have alternative issues. Nova Scotia had a large community of escaped slaves, so there was (is) significant anti-black sentiment there. In fact, our version of Harriet Tubman is a woman from Nova Scotia who was arrested for not moving to the back of the cinema in Nova Scotia, and now appears on our $10 bill. It was recent enough that her sister is still alive. We also have assorted other racial issues - Japanese internment, a large community of Jamaican immigrants in the Toronto area and Haitians (French speakers) in Montreal, and large numbers of immigrants from China when the railroads were being built, and more recent waves of immigrants from south Asia, Philippines, and China. This is a very diverse country and activist groups are very sensitive to anything that seems to reek of discriminatory practices, but the proportion of any single minority is quite low, and different minorities are thought of as “troublemakers” in different parts of the country.

There have been suggestions that the police have used racial profiling in stops, particularly in the big cities. Another suggestion is that in western Canada, where the predominant lower class poor are native Americans, the police seem to have it in for natives. Plus I recall some news about a native who died after spending 3 days in an emergency room because he was ignored by each successive shift. The inquiry suggested the staff assumed “he was just a homeless person sleeping it off in a warm place”.

Earlier this week, there was a story in the Montreal Gazette about a black woman who had just graduated from college with enough money saved from working at McDonald’s to buy some fancy car. Since then she has been stopped a dozen times by the cops. At least one asked her how she could afford such a car. One stop resulted in a minute search of car that took a couple hours.

Pakistan here. One of the unfortunate stereotypes of Pashtuns and northern Pakistani people generally are that they are i) Drug dealer and ii) blond blue eyed.

So, here I am defending a a guy accused of drug dealing. During cross examination, I asked the arresting officer why did he select my client (he had been stopped at a traffic light pedestrian crossing), and he says he looked suspicious, what was suspicious, oh well, his accent and hair colour. The officer obviously spoke that out loud, since he immediately tried to correct himself and say disreheveled.
Well I spent the next 30 minutes ripping into him For being racist. My guy would have gotten off as well, if only he *hadn’t * in fact been carrying and in full view of security cameras. :man_facepalming:t2:

Long answer short, they do, they aren’t supposed to and criminals being dumb often end up being guilty regardless.

When I was living in Saskatoon, there was a scandal where police were picking up Native Canadians and dropping them off at the edge of town in freezing weather. No one was seriously punished, even though there were some deaths possibly linked to the practice.

I think the Romani (Gypsy) are racially profiled in most of Europe.

I recently heard a NPR story where Moroccans were profiled in the Netherlands.

“ Saudi Arabia has also executed more Pakistanis than any other foreign nationals - more than 70 citizens of Pakistan have been executed since October 2014 while hundreds, including an 80 year old woman, are currently on a death sentence.”

UK. It isn’t legal, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. There’s been a very recent, high profile accusation of such by a British Athlete. As a result, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, is opening an investigation into systemic police profiling.