Finland probes 'racist' police comments on Facebook

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Finnish police, file picImage source, AFP

Finnish police officers may face prosecution for posting racist comments about migrants in a secret Facebook group.

The comments were revealed by Long Play, a Finnish investigative news site. The National Police Board has passed the material to Finland's state prosecutor, police told the BBC.

The secret group spreads anti-immigrant messages from far-right sources.

The comments included crude jokes about mixed-race rapper Musta Barbaari.

There was also derision of an asylum seeker who had attempted suicide in Helsinki in March.

Finland, like its Nordic neighbours Denmark and Sweden, tightened the rules for asylum seekers after more than a million migrants reached Central Europe in 2015. Refugees from Syria formed the largest group.

A Finnish police spokeswoman told the BBC: "Every Finnish national has freedom of speech, but the police are supposed to behave in their spare time in a way that doesn't make the police look bad."

It is not yet clear how many police officers left comments on the secret site. Finnish media report that the Facebook group has more than 2,800 members.

"This matter will be thoroughly investigated," said Interior Minister Paula Risikko. "There must be completely zero tolerance for racism and all writings of this kind," she said.