Police open about racism in their own circle: ’30 reports in six months’

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In the past six months, police officers have reported thirty reports of racist or discriminatory statements and behavior by colleagues. This is reported by NRC, who spoke about it with deputy chief of police Liesbeth Huyzer of the National Police.

It is the first time that the police, one of the largest organizations in our country with over 60,000 employees, has provided an overview of reports of racism and discrimination within its own ranks. These reports were mostly made by managers to the anti-racism coordinator at the police, who was appointed last year.

One of the latest reports concerns an agent in The Hague who was suspended last week. The agent has been active in Geert Wilders’ PVV for years and was on the party’s candidate list in 2022. He is being investigated for “highly inappropriate statements on social media,” said Huyzer.

‘Don’t look away anymore’

For example, the agent tweeted about six officers (who have also been suspended) posting a video of a trip to Paris in which they shout “less, less, less” to passersby of color. The agent active for the PVV stood up for the agents and tweeted “less, less, less gajes”. He wrote about climate protesters: “They are criminals we should lock up”.

According to the deputy chief of police, discredited officers are now suspended more quickly than before and investigations are launched more quickly. “Previously, there was often a shyness within the police to act in such cases,” she told NRC. “Then it was often said: he is about to retire or it was private. But now we no longer look away and dare to continue.”

Workouts

She does not want to say whether thirty reports in six months is a lot or a few. “That question does not matter. There will be many more reports. It is about colleagues reporting, that we investigate the reports and that we respond adequately and unequivocally. Anyone who crosses the border will always feel that.” In extreme cases, racist behavior can lead to dismissal.

The police want to see how incidents of racism and discrimination can be shared more clearly with the outside world. In addition, police executives have received training to “help the officers in question to look for their inner racism”, according to Huyzer.

With the measures, the police want to make officers more resilient against this. “It must be made clear that what they see on a few square kilometers should not lead to stereotypes about an entire population group. Officers must see that certain problems stem from poverty and inequality of opportunity.”

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