Top security and justice officials in Germany are torn over calls by human rights activists to study the use of racial profiling by police.

Earlier this year, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance recommended that federal and state police in Germany commission a study into the use of racial profiling, a xenophobic practice that activists say is widespread in the country.

Germany’s Interior Ministry, which oversees federal police, initially agreed to the idea, but a ministry spokesman backtracked on Monday.

“So-called racial profiling isn’t permitted. This is taught during the initial and ongoing training, and it doesn’t happen,” the spokesman, Steve Alter, told reporters in Berlin.

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Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wanted to first await a report on “extremist and racist tendencies” among public servants being compiled by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency before considering whether further steps were necessary, Alter said.

Riot police arrest a demonstrator as they evacuated a park in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district on May 1, 2020, during May Day protests amid the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Germany’s justice minister, Christine Lambrecht, said late Monday that the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance’s recommendation to study racial profiling in policing was “right and important, in order to get the latest facts.”

“It’s my view that we shouldn’t refrain from the study that was initially planned,” Lambrecht said, adding that she would continue to press her case with Seehofer.

Debates about racial profiling and the broader issue of systemic racism in Germany have been amplified by the worldwide protests that followed the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man, in the United States. A White police officer pressed his knee against the 46-year-old Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.