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Investigation into claims of ethnic profiling by Ghent police
The city of Ghent has launched a study in response to claims of ethnic profiling by police.
"Citizens with an immigrant background report that they face situations of ethnic profiling in their contact with the police,” said the city’s equal opportunities alderwoman Astrid De Bruycker. “The city and the police take these signals very seriously.”
The study will be conducted by criminologists Sofie De Kimpe, from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and Antoinette Verhage, from the University of Ghent (UGent). It will assess the framework and training of police officers. The researchers will accompany the police in their field missions and collect information.
The university duo will also analyse the way in which Ghent residents experience police checks and will organise focus groups, a qualitative research method which analyses the perception of an object of study by a target group. The study will begin this autumn.
In early June, there was a near-riot in the recreational area of Blaarmeersen, in which mainly young people from Brussels were involved. Since then, controls have been put in place at Gent-Sint-Pieters rail station. Young people coming from the capital without proof of reservation to access the domain are then turned away.
De Bruycker added: "Even though the subject of the study is of course identity checks and how they can be carried out in a professional and proportionate manner, it was not this incident that motivated the ethnic profiling study within the local police.”
Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga