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Human Rights and Non-discrimination in the 'War on Terror'$
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Daniel Moeckli

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239801

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239801.001.0001

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Selective Use of Police Powers

Selective Use of Police Powers

(p.193) 7 Selective Use of Police Powers
Human Rights and Non-discrimination in the 'War on Terror'

Moeckli Daniel

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates that the law enforcement agencies of all states examined are increasingly relying on so-called ‘terrorist profiles’ to select the targets of their vast array of preventive anti-terrorism powers. It argues that profiling practices that are based on stereotypical assumptions that people of a certain ‘racial’, ethnic, or religious appearance, or a certain national origin, pose a greater terrorist risk than others are not a suitable means to identify potential terrorists. Such profiles are both over- and under-inclusive and may shift the attention of law enforcement officers away from what should be their main focus, namely behaviour. Furthermore, by singling out persons for enhanced law enforcement attention simply because they match certain group characteristics, terrorist profiling practices contribute to the stigmatisation and alienation of the targeted groups, which, in turn, may have significant negative implications in terms of their willingness to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.

Keywords:   law enforcement, prevention, profiling, racial profiling, terrorist profiling, race, ethnicity, appearance

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