Police union concerned about rise in citizen patrols

handcuffs and judge gavel on brown wooden tablePolice union ACP is unhappy at the rise in the number of citizen patrols on the Dutch streets, Trouw said on Thursday.

There are now some 700 people who carry out voluntary patrols, particularly in the evening and this is five times the 2012 total, Trouw said. Almost half the country’s local authority areas now have some sort of neighbourhood watch or other scheme, the paper said, quoting research by Erasmus University sociologist Vasco Lub.

ACP chairman Gerrit van de Kamp said he is not happy about the increase. ‘Citizen patrols are often associated with vigilantes,’ he said. ‘Even if they patrol alone, they are operating in a grey area. Are they allowed to make an arrest? What is excessive force? It could lead to dangerous situations.’

A national police spokesman told Trouw that everyone in principle is allowed to set up citizens patrols and detain people caught committing a crime. ‘They are the ears and eyes of the police but is not their job to take the law into their own hands,’ he said.

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