U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Finnish Gypsies and the Police (From Policing Scandinavia, P 147-156, 1980, Ragnar Hauge, ed. - See NCJ-85878)

NCJ Number
M Gronfors
Date Published
10 pages
Finnish police perceive gypsies, the most visible ethnic minority in Finland, as a criminal element because the gypsy lifestyle significantly differs from police values.
Gypsies' dark appearance and traditional dress make them the most distinguishable ethnic minority in Finland. Because gypsies have been persecuted for centuries, any close association with nongypsies is avoided, and knowledge of gypsy social life and culture is guarded. Consequently, nongypsies rely on occasional observations and hearsay for their knowledge of gypsies, a circumstance conducive to the formation of a stereotyped view. Unstructured interviews with 55 police officers in Helsinki and Tampere in 1977 revealed that the police hold to the traditional stereotype of gypsies. The police perceive gypsies as holding to the deviant values of short-term hedonism, freedom from external constraints, self-expressiveness, a disdain for work, and a flouting of the symbols of social class status. Such values conflict with the police values of deferred gratification, acceptance of external constraints, conformity to bureaucratic rules, predictable routine, the value of work, and support for the mannerisms and symbols of social positions. Expressions of gypsy culture and expressions of criminal culture are viewed by the police as the same. Fourteen notes are listed.


No download available