Amsterdam removes police guard from Jewish institutions

Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam
Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Photo: Mister No / Wikimedia Commons

From Monday Amsterdam is removing the manned police houses located at various Jewish institutions in the city. The guard posts are being replaced by advanced camera systems and a special police team in charge of monitoring them, Het Parool reports.

According to mayor Eberhard van der Laan, the replacing the posts with camera surveillance will not have a negative impact on the security situation. The city started giving Jewish institutions extra security after an attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014.

The new surveillance method is intended to lead to more efficient monitoring, according to police commissioner Gerald Oud Ammerveld, who is responsible for the project. Cameras are already installed at  20 Jewish institutions in the city. They are easy to use, can zoom and is programmed to send an alert if there is suddenly a lot of light, for example in a fire, the commissioner said to Het Parool. The cameras record 24/7 and footage can be reviewed if necessary.

The police also established a team of 31 officers, which will specifically handle surveillance at Jewish institutions in the city. They will keep an eye on the camera surveillance and do daily patrols along the involved institutions. These patrols will be done in a specially equipped police vehicle. The police officers in this team will also maintain close contact with the Jewish community, so that they are informed about what is going on. 

This new method will be used for a year, after which the police, municipality and Jewish institutions will discuss how effective it is. According to Oud Ammerveld, not everyone in the Jewish community is happy with the change. "Some are somewhat skeptical", he said to the newspaper. "But we also know that terrorists won't be stopped by a police post at the door."