Saturday 16 November 2019

Mayors reject accusations of police racism and discrimination in The Hague

Police badge and radio.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A group of mayors have dismissed claims by a former team leader in The Hague’s police force that the city’s division is riddled with racism and discrimination.

Fatima Aboulouafa said she had been marginalised within the force and was eventually transferred to Leiden after she raised concerns about bullying and discrimination. Her complaints were cited by the United Nations’ special rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, in her latest progress report on the Netherlands last month.

Opposition parties in The Hague, the Haagse Stadspartij and the Islamic parties Islam Democraten and Nida, accused police chiefs of not doing enough to combat racism, ethnic profiling and disproportionate use of violence.

But in a joint letter, the 11 mayors representing municipalities in the region said they ‘distanced themselves from this suggestion’ and said the accusations were ‘dangerous’ and ‘reprehensible’ because they cast doubt on the integrity of the police.

‘We fully realise that the police make mistakes and things do not go well… [but] in our view there is no indication of a tainted culture in which the leadership looks the other way,’ they said.

Aboulouafa, who is of Moroccan origin, said some officers in the city described themselves as Marokkanenverdelgers (‘eradicators of Moroccans’) and cited instances of officers using excessive violence which they allegedly lied about up in witness statements.

She has been suspended from active duty in Leiden since the start of October after officers in The Hague told her boss, Liesbeth Huyzer, that they were not prepared to work with her.

On Monday Aboulouafa filed an official complaint of against justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus, claiming Grapperhaus had libelled her by suggesting that her suspension was not related to her criticisms of the police.

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