Research relating to ethnic profiling in the Netherlands, England and Wales

The PILP has commissioned the University of Utrecht to carry out research on ethnic profiling in the Netherlands, England and Wales. The research, conducted by Simone Vromen, is entitled: ‘Ethnic profiling in the Netherlands, England and Wales: Compliance with international and European standards?’

Vromen concludes that the broad discretionary powers awarded to police officers in these States have the potential to lead to ethnic profiling, which constitutes an infringement of the prohibition against discrimination. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) warned that the application of the British Terrorism Act of 2000 could create ethnic profiling. As the effectiveness of ethnic profiling in crime prevention has never been proven, such practices are not likely to pass the proportionality test of the ECtHR.

In line with recommendations made by the international and European human rights bodies, both Wales and England have taken precautionary steps to prevent further infringement on the prohibition against discrimination as a result of police profiling. These include gathering data on stops and searches, and introducing clear policies and guidelines for police officers to apply. According to Vromen, similar steps could be taken by the Netherlands to comply with its international obligations.

Vromen’s research is based on international and European human rights standards relevant to the issue of ethnic profiling, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Social Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Vromen also relies on decisions of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the prohibition of discrimination.

You can access the report here.