Amsterdam to experiment with ‘stop and search’ in crime hot spots


Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema plans to give the police power to carry out stop and search operations following a spate of gun crime in the city, including three shootings this week.

‘We are going to use this resource on an experimental basis,’ Halsema told councillors on Thursday. ‘And we will evaluate it. It will be for a month.’

The controversial move means police will be able to stop and search people in ‘hot spots’. People will be chosen at random and there will be observers on hand, Halsema said.

As yet is is unclear where the mayor wants to sanction stop and search procedures. Children under 12, families and the over-65s will be exempt from the searches.

The proposals can count on broad support within the council, with the far right FvD, the VVD and CDA all speaking out in favour. However, the two biggest coalition parties, GroenLinks and D66, have already said they are not happy with the mayor’s plan.

‘Simply indicating an area to operate in can be stigmatising,’ GroenLinks councillor Femke Roosma said. In addition, gang trouble may simply move to other areas, she said.

This week there have been two shootings in the Vechtstraat in Amsterdam Zuid in which two men, both part of the city’s rap scene, were shot. On Thursday morning, in Zuidoost, an apartment lived in by family of one of the two victims was also shot at.


Control Alt Delete, an organisation campaigning for an end to racial profiling, said the results generated by stop and search procedures in other cities are low.

In Rotterdam, the organisation points out, police searched over 10,000 people in 2017 and found just 147 knives. ‘That means just 1.5% of checks produced a result,’ the organisation said.

The organisation said the city should first embark upon an in depth study of the problem before taking a decision on such a controversial issue.

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