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Skinheads in Joensuu Problems, Effects and Solutions Riga 21.11.2008 Jukka Walling Sergeant Police Department of Joensuu
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 2 The problem arises First refugees appeared in Joensuu from Vietnam at the end of 1980s and almost at the same time appeared also the skinheads. In 1992 and 1993 the young refugees from Somalia and the skinheads had several clashes althrough the year. Even the Red Cross Refugee Center was attacked.
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 3 Police and Media These incidents were investigated and prosecuted in a normal way. The police increased and directed the control over Public Safety and Security in town. Media´s interest woke up, even internationally. Some local media accused police for not being neutral but acting for skinheads` favour.
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 4 Effects In 1994 police organized negotiations between Skin and Somalis. An agreement was made to stop the violence In 1995 the violence still continued. An American baskeballplayer was beaten up by skinheads and left Joensuu. This case was widely noticed in the International Media. Joensuu got a bad reputation, tourists and travellers evaded visiting town.
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 5 Solutions In 1996 a special ”Against racism”- program was created by the Police. A position of a Tolerance Instructor was also created. An immigrant, Mrs. Melody Karvonen was appointed to the task. Her job was to arrange training and information occasions in schools, working societys and also among foreigners.
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 6 Solutions In April 1996 the Police and the Social sector increased co-operation: a police officer and a social worker formed a pair to work together to control and prevent violence among the skinheads, immigrants and refugees. This was the predecessor of the Youth Team. As a result of these actions the statistics finally indicated major decrease of racist crimes. BUT!!!
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 7 Final try of The Skins The skinheads organized themselves as a movement. They started to attack randomly and assault even local citizens. Even police officers were threatened. The skinheads tried to recruit young males to join them. They used Molotov Coctail type devices to burn down immigrants´cars. Good-looking situation was rapidly getting worse!
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 8 Final solution Police had to act Skinheads` Headquarters were raided, searchs and seizures were performed. Several persons were arrested and accused of racist crimes and violence. The investigation took several months. Because of their previous crimes and heavy accusations, major sentences were given to them.
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 9 A violent era ends The big raid and investigation were the beginning of the end for the skinhead movement in Joensuu. All this time the ”Against racism” –programme was on-going. Racist crimes were investigated with special care and sentenced more severely. Finally, the whole society was against skin- heads.
21.11.2008 © Jukka Walling Police Department of Joensuu 10 What could have been done differently? At first, nobody in the society knew how to react. Both the refugees and the skin-heads were a new thing. At first, the sentences given at Court were too light, mainly conditional sentences. The police did not act enough in a preventive way. We waited for something to happen, then investigated. Police was accused by Media, for sure it did not make our job any easier.
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