Police brass reportedly use public funds to visit football matches; Top Cop: More "integrity scandals" expected
Five police chiefs were caught using police funds to visit football matches and concerts, newspaper AD reported on Friday. The Rijksrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at the police, launched an investigation. National Police Chief Erik Akerboom fears that more "integrity scandals" will come to light, he said to AD.
This case came to light when Amsterdam police chief Ad Smit admitted to the newspaper that he attended Ajax football matches in the former Amsterdam Arena and concerts in the Ziggo Dome for years at the expense of the police. His lawyer Job Knoester told the newspaper that Smit didn't know he was doing anything wrong. "Visiting matches was not uncommon inside the police and Public Prosecutor. Smit acted no differently than the people around him, with the knowledge of the police leadership."
According to AD, while being questioned by the Rijksrecherche, Smit gave up a number of names of people who used police funds for entertainment. Among them are member of the corps leadership Liesbeth Huyzer and advisors Bernard Welten and Hans Schonfeld.
This new case is the latest in a line of integrity scandals at the police. Investigations are currently ongoing against former chairman of the police works council Frank Giltay and against former National Police Chief Gerard Bouman. Giltay is suspected of wasting public funds, and Bouman is suspected of involvement.
Akerboom warned that this latest investigation may unearth more police scandals in the coming months. He called it regrettable that the police again made headlines in a negative way. "During my first year several integrity issues were reported. This affects the entire organization and has an impact on employees, from high to low. I think it is important to provide a clear signal about where we as police stand when it comes to integrity."
Akerboom is working towards an open and transparent organization in which police officers don't have to be afraid to admonish each other on wrong behavior. "Integrity is more than you adhering to the law. It is also about carefully dealing with information, powers and public money, and about how you treat one another. You must be willing and able to take responsibility for your actions."
The results of the Rijksrecherche investigation are expected in mid-June.