Police union concerned over gang-like neighborhood watch groups

Police. (Photo: Politie)

Police union ACP is worried that some of the neighborhood watch groups in the Netherlands are taking on a threatening gang-like character, vice president Erwin Koenen said to ANP. Using violence is the "monopoly of the police", and such groups undermine that, he said.

According to him, cooperation between the police and neighborhood watch groups is a good thing, but there has to be limits. "That the police cooperates with citizens who act as eyes and ears for the police is very relevant. There are plenty of positive examples." he said, but added: "Such a neighborhood watch group may legitimize its actions and possibly use violence on the grounds that they cooperate with the police, while that definitely does not justify it."

As an example the union mentions Kootwijkerbroek, where a neighborhood watch actively searches or burglars using professional equipment, dogs and helicopters. "A group of citizens who chase suspects and then start using violence, is unacceptable."