Unrest and bewilderment within police after mild sanction against racism
Within the National Police there has been a great deal of commotion about what, in particular, many police officers with a migration background regard as too long-suffering an approach to racism and discrimination within their own organization. According to Amsterdam police boss Frank Paauw, this approach “leads to feelings of insecurity”. There is also unrest elsewhere.
Immediate cause is the lightest disciplinary sanction – one written reprimand – who got five Rotterdam agents after they turned up last month in an app group repeatedly expressed racism. Citizens were referred to as ‘cancer people’, ‘kutafrikans’ and ‘pauperallochtons’.
Tempers are running high at the Amsterdam police, the most diverse force in the Netherlands. On Thursday, there were consultations about this between the unit leadership and representatives of the various networks, such as the Caribbean, Moroccan, Turkish and ‘pink’ agents. According to Paauw, there are ‘quite a few colleagues and partners’ who find it ‘painful’ that no more emphatic action is taken against discrimination. “The statements already rightly caused outrage and the punishment now also evokes emotion,” Paauw writes in an e-mail that he sent on Wednesday on behalf of the unit management to all Amsterdam agents. NRC has.
According to another top police official, there is “nationwide unrest” among officers over this matter. A team chief from the east of the Netherlands says that officers are annoyed by what they see as measuring with double standards. “If you, as a citizen, turn against the police, this is considered an aggravating circumstance. The racist treatment of citizens by a police officer is apparently a mitigating circumstance. ”
‘They are good custodians’
The Rotterdam police boss Fred Westerbeke says he is “aware that talks are being held in various units and there is also dissatisfaction” about the sanctions he imposed on his agents. “There is a wide range of reactions to the decision, in that respect the police are no different from society.” He decided on the lightest sanction because the officers were “sorry” and “good custodians.”
Chief of Police Paauw writes that the commotion appears on the intranet of the police. There, and on social media, hundreds of agents are responding to the matter. One of them says he has heard racist remarks within the police on the intranet for 26 years. “I still hope that we change as an organization.” One officer says she finds the reprimand “shameful and disgusting.” “Police officers who think this is an appropriate punishment are part of the cultural problem.”
Also on LinkedIn, agents complain: “I really do not understand anything about this as a person, as a policeman and as a Muslim with Moroccan roots and working for the same unit.” Another: “After days of being angry, I am especially amazed and moved by this decision. It pains me that these police officers are still part of an organization that tries to ensure the safety of my sister, brother, mother and father every day. ”
Paauw writes with colleagues that he ‘wants to make a fist’ against discrimination. “Because we should just want that out of humanity and collegiality. And because it is a dire necessity, because police that appear to be biased and unfair, lose confidence, support and ultimately the right to exist. Let’s continue to treat each other with respect! ”
A request for a response from the chairpersons of the police networks is currently rejected by the Amsterdam police. Paauw does not provide an explanation either.