Union: Treat cops involved in shooting incidents as suspects

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Police officers who were involved in shooting incidents should henceforth immediately be considered a suspect, Gerrit van de Kamp, chairman of police union ACP, told NOS on Thursday. 

Currently police officers are first questioned as a witness after an incident. But according to Van de Kamp, a status of suspect would give them more rights. They would immediately have access to a lawyer, which would take away a lot of legal uncertainty. "It is obviously hard and not the ideal solution", he said to the broadcaster. "But it is necessary to give police officers security and legal certainty."

This call follows a lawsuit last week in which a Limburg officer was sentenced to 2 years in prison for severely injuring a person in a fleeing car. On Thursday two officers will appear in court who shot and killed a man that caused a disturbance in a residential area in Rotterdam in 2013.

According to Van de Kamp, these lawsuits have led to much uncertainty among police officers and something needs to be done.

The Minister of Security and Justice and the police chief have so far been hesitant to accept previous calls to immediately give officers involved in incidents a suspect status, but have announced that the legal system will be adjusted. This could, for example, mean that police cases will be treated in a special court room.

Van de Kamp feels that this is taking too long, especially given the recent unrest about police brutality following the death of Mitch Henriquez late in June and the incident in Almere last week in which a 13 year old boy was forced to run alongside a police motorcycle after being arrested. The union chairman is calling on the Board of Attorneys-General to adjust the system soon. "We want an end to uncertainty among colleagues as quickly as possible."