Racist police officers will always face sanctions, under new guidelines
Police officers caught making racist remarks will no longer get away with a ‘good chat’, acting police chief Liesbeth Huyzer has told the NRC in an interview.
‘The most important message is there will always be some form of sanction, and if necessary, redundancy,’ Huyzer said.
The new approach means the current rules are being sharpened up considerably, following criticism from lawyers, community groups and police officers about racism within the force.
‘We fight racism and discrimination and with that we must set an example,’ the statement on Politie.nl said. ‘And how can people feel safe on the street and trust us, if we we do not experience it ourselves.’
In the most recent high profile case, five officers in Rotterdam who made racist comments in a Whatsapp group were given written warnings but allowed to keep their jobs.
Rotterdam police chief Fred Westerbeke said at the time he had taken the decision to let the officers off with a warning because ‘they were sorry’ and were ‘good cops’.
In 2019, a former team leader in The Hague’s police force said the city’s division is riddled with racism and discrimination. Fatima Aboulouafa, who is of Moroccan origin, said some officers in the city described themselves as ‘Marokkanenverdelgers’ (‘eradicators of Moroccans’).
The change of heart follows a recent television documentary in which several police officers spoke openly about the impact their racist colleagues had on them. Most left the force.
It is important that this documentary does not lead to more division, Huijzer said. ‘The impact on colleagues is enormous. We must be aware of that and work hard to change it.’
The new guidelines were drawn up last week at a meeting of top police officials.
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