Police in The Hague are introducing quotas and setting up special work experience schemes in an effort to encourage more people with an ethnic minority background to sign up.
In addition, the police will do more to explain to people why they are carrying out stop and search procedures and will take the registration of discrimination complaints more seriously, mayor Jozias van Aartsen said on Thursday.
While the introduction of quotas is controversial, ‘there is an urgent need for more cultural variety’ in police stations such as the one in the largely immigrant area of Schilderswijk.
The Hague’s local force came under fire this summer for the heavy-handed way an Antillean holidaymaker was arrested. He died later in hospital. The death led to riots in Schilderswijk and other parts of the city, as well as complaints about the ‘daily reality’ of ‘racist police violence’.
The police have now drawn up a 35-point plan to stimulate diversity and counteract discrimination.
The Volkskrant article did not give more details about what form the quota would take, other than to say that more ethnic minority officers would be given promotion.
Leiden criminology professor Joanne van der Leun told the paper that the experience with quotas for ethnic minority officers are not always encouraging.
‘You can bring them in but it is more difficult to keep them,’ she said. ‘Non-western police officers experience more pressures from outside the force and from existing police culture. Good leadership and team work is as least as important.’
She also raised doubts about plans to increase the use of bodycams. ‘What lies behind that?’ she asked. ‘Is it simply to collect evidence about their actions in the face of complaints, or will they be used to professionalise and generate feedback to change the culture?’
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