Critics slam Rotterdam police plan to confiscate expensive clothes


Legal experts and Rotterdam’s own ombudsman have slammed police plans to confiscate expensive clothing and shoes from youngsters they suspect of having criminal connections.

On Wednesday, the Telegraaf reported that police officers in Rotterdam are going to start seizing expensive jackets and luxury watches from potential youth criminals if it is not clear how they have been paid for.

Trials of the scheme will begin shortly under the supervision of the public prosecution department and department officials will decide what can be confiscated legally, the paper said.

However, city ombudsman Anne Mieke Zwaneveld has told the AD that the plan is the start of a slippery slope into ethic profiling.

In addition, it will be legally difficult to confiscate people’s clothing, she said. ‘It is not illegal to walk around in it. In addition, it is often unclear how such items were paid for and how old they are,’ she said.

Rotterdam lawyer Jaap Spigt told the paper that new policy is power play. ‘What is the next step if police start asking you how you got the clothes you are wearing,’ he told the AD. ‘Will they soon be going through your home asking how you paid for your television or sofa?’

Jair Schalkwijk, of the anti ethnic profiling campaign group Control Alt Delete said that the new policy contradicts agreements on not checking people who are seen as typical suspects. ‘You cannot simply stop people because they look out of place in an expensive car or are wearing a ‘too chique’ jacket,’ he said.

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