Ethnic profiling in Catalonia: for every police identity check on a Spanish national, there are seven checks on foreigners
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Black or ethnic minority individuals or those with a foreign nationality are stopped more frequently by Catalan police officers than those who are white and/or have Spanish nationality, according to a recent report by the organisation Pareu de Parar-me (Stop Stopping Me).
Data from the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan regional police) covering the number of identity checks carried out in 2017 shows that 54.1% of the total number of identity checks target foreign people, yet they represent just 13.7% of the total population of Catalonia.
20 of every 100 people with foreign nationality who are domiciled in Catalonia were subject to police checks in 2017, while less than three of every 100 Spanish citizens had the same experience, according to the organisation.
In other words, for every identity check on a Spanish national, there are 7.4 checks on foreign nationals.
Looking at individual nationalities, the ratio goes up to figures such as 16.6 (Ecuador), 16.8 (Dominican Republic) and 18.3 (Algeria).
In observations carried out in Ciutat Vella (a district of Barcelona), 'racialised' (non-white) persons made up 94% of the total number of people subject to identity checks.
The figures compiled by the Mossos also show different reasons for checks on Spanish and non-Spanish nationals.
Regarding foreign nationals, 15% of checks were carried out as street controls ("control de policia de pas", literally 'police step controls') or on the grounds of citizen security ("dispositiu de seguretat ciutadana", literally 'citizen security device').
In the case of Spanish nationals, the principal motive for carrying out identity checks was suspected "robbery by force".
Pareu de Parar-me note that each type of check has different implications - while those undertaken in the name of investigating potential robberies may correspond to clear signs of suspicion, "street controls" give agents a wide discretion to use their powers as they see fit.
Informe identificacions policials i perfilació ètnica a Catalunya, Pareu de Parar-Me
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