Police officers who are involved in shooting incidents should be treated as suspects from the word go, because this will give them more rights within the legal system, according to police union ACP.
Union chief Gerrit van der Kamp says that by treating police officers as suspects they will be entitled to the support of a lawyer directly. ‘It is not the ideal solution but it is necessary to guarantee their safety and legal rights,’ he told broadcaster Nos.
Police officers who use their guns are usually treated as witnesses rather than suspects.
Van der Kamp’s comments come in the wake of last week’s court case which saw a police officer sentenced to two years in jail for shooting a passenger in a getaway car. The court ruled the officer was not in an emergency situation when he drew his gun.
Later today, two other police officers will appear in court charged with shooting dead a Rotterdam man after a heated exchange over a dog. He was hit by several bullets including in the arm and back.
In both cases, the public prosecution department had refused to take the police officers to court but were forced to do so when the families appealed.
On Wednesday, Dutch police chief Gerard Bouman called on police officers to ‘keep a cool head and be sensible’ when commenting on the recent cases and warned against venting frustrations online. These are ‘unjust, misplaced and do not help anyone’, the police chief said.
The police, justice ministry and public prosecution department are currently revising the rules on the use of violence by the police and Bouman said he is keen to see special measures being introduced.
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