UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


The Stopped project - Kati Pietarinen

06 September 2018, 4:00 pm–4:45 pm

Stop project

The Stopped project: challenges and successes of collaboration between research, journalism and art in investigating ethnic profiling in Finland

Event Information

Open to







Claudia Roland – SSEES
020 7679 8754


16 Taviton Street

The Stopped project (2015-2018) of the University of Helsinki is perhaps the only Finnish social science research project in recent years to yield a scoop: a news story covered by all of national media, and ultimately even featured on the BBC.

The project was the first research into ethnic profiling in Finland. It was conceived by a journalist, headed by a professor and realized in collaboration between researchers, journalists, a multimedia specialist, a photographer and a comic artist.

The project concentrated on stops by the police targeting individuals from racialized minority groups. 145 people with experiences of stops were interviewed, among them numerous Finnish Roma and over twenty Bulgarians and Romanians earning their income on the streets, many of whom identified as Roma. The project also interviewed police officers and and commissioned a survey of young peoples’ experiences of being stopped.

Our Finnish Roma informants told of being repeatedly stopped when driving and having passengers ID checked for arrest warrants. Police officers were often curt or aggressive. Interviewed police officers admitted the existence of this practice. Foreign Roma informants spoke of continued harassment by security guards and police, including expulsions from public spaces, ID checks, unwarranted detentions and violence.

Researchers worked on academic articles and a final research report, while the journalistic team created a multimedia website based on the research interviews and data. The project also published two investigative articles, the second of which got massive attention across national media. It forced the Finnish police to reflect publicly on the issue of racism in its ranks and led to several inquiries.

Sadly, while the general topic of police racism garnered broad attention, and problems with immigration controls were discussed, the treatment of both foreign and Finnish Roma was nearly forgotten in the public debate.



Organised by SSEES, UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Centre of Nordic Studies, University of Helsinki, and sponsored by the Finnish Institute in London. Followed by a presentation by Heidi Piiroinen and Kimmo Oksanen (Helsingin Sanomat) The invisibles – Story of a beggar family in room 431 and a wine reception in Masaryk Senior Common Room, 4th floor, SSEES 16:40-17:30.

About the Speaker

Kati Pietarinen