Police in most EU states need to boost combat against racism

Police in most European Union countries need to improve their response to racist crime and violence, an agency that monitors racism and anti-foreigner sentiment across the EU said Thursday.

"Racist motivation in crimes is not systematically identified and investigated," said Beate Winkler, director of the Vienna-based European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia.

The center analyzed police response to racism-related crime across the 25-nation EU and found that authorities in most member states don't record the ethnicity of perpetrators and victims.

It said Britain appeared to have the most comprehensive response to racist crime and violence, and that police in France, Germany and Sweden also were taking the issue seriously.

Most other countries, however, still have no provision for recording crimes as racially motivated, the center's report said. They included Greece and Hungary, whose police record neither the ethnicity nor nationality of offenders and their victims.

The center said police officers should be getting special training to deal with racist crime, and it called on police agencies to better coordinate and cooperate with each other and with non-governmental organizations to improve their response.

It urged EU governments to make sure that police initially record as "racially motivated" any crime that officers, victims or witnesses consider to have been rooted in hatred over race or ethnicity, and establish special racist crime units to investigate such incidents, the AP reports.

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