Report: Dutch military exceeding authority in border checks

Royal Military Police (Photo: Koninklijke Marechaussee/Facebook)Royal Military Police (Photo: Koninklijke Marechaussee/Facebook)

The Koninklijke Marechaussee - a Dutch policing force that works as a branch of the military - regularly performs border controls that fall outside their jurisdiction. The Marechaussee carries out checks that are actually the responsibility of the National Police, according to research done by Professor Maartje van der Woude of the University of Leiden, Trouw reports.

For his research Van der Woude spent 800 hours traveling with members of the Marechaussee while they performed their duties.

The traditional duties of the Marechaussee along the border is checking for human trafficking. But Van der Woude found that, among other things, the Marechaussee officers also check for drugs and drug trafficking, while this does not fall under their jurisdiction.

According to Van der Woude, arresting criminals outside your jurisdiction is undesirable. Not only because the citizen should be protected against unlawful action by the government. But also because the Marechaussee doing drug busts creates the image "that migration and crime always go together".

The study also found that the Marechaussee primarily focus on license plates when picking cars to check. Eastern European, Romanian and Bulgarian license plates are considered suspicious, while Polish cars get less attention because they mostly transport workers.

Skin color also plays an important role in checks. Van der Woude found that the Marechaussee uses skin color to estimate a person's nationality, and the officers have certain expectations for every nationality. For examples, North Africans are expected to be linked to drugs and drug runners, while Albanians are often though of linked to serious crimes.