Oost Nederland police chief Janny Knol is taking disciplinary measures against six police officers caught making racist comments while on a private outing to Paris, the AD reported on Wednesday.
One of the six faces being sacked, one moved to another department, the two senior officers who failed to intervene have been given formal reprimands and remaining two a written warning.
The six men had attended a football match against France in March this year and made the comments the following day in a minibus while driving past a market in the north of Paris.
The passengers can be heard to remark that the people selling their wares are criminals and that no white faces can be seen. One passenger calls the area ‘a zoo’ while others repeat Geert Wilders’ 2014 call for ‘fewer, fewer’ Moroccans.
The six officers were suspended after the video was made public pending the outcome of an investigation. The two most severe punishments – sacking and being moved – still have to be confirmed by a police panel, the AD said.
“If you discriminate or make denigrating comments, you cannot function well as a police officer,” Knol told the paper. “As a police officer, you have to be there for everyone. And we also expect police officers to act when people show inappropriate behaviour outside working hours as well.”
Serving police officers made dozens of complaints about racist or discriminatory behaviour by colleagues in the six months to April, the NRC reported earlier this year. This was the first time the police have given an overview of complaints within the force, many of which were made by senior officers.
Acting national police chief Liesbeth Huyzer told the paper at the time that the number registered to date is irrelevant. ‘What matters is that colleagues make reports, that we look into them, and that we react to them properly,’ she said. ‘Those who cross the line will always, always feel it.’
One of the reports involved an officer in The Hague who was sent home after making ‘extremely inappropriate comments’ on social media. The officer is an active member of the far-right PVV party and was a candidate in the local elections last year.
Huyzer said banning police officers from joining democratically elected political parties was neither possible nor desirable, but more should be done to ensure they carry out their duties in a neutral way and respect the constitution.
No one knows how many police officers are members of the PVV, but ‘research suggests police officers lean more to the right,’ she told the paper. Several stood as candidates for the party in the 2022 local elections.
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