Amsterdam mayor acknowledges problems in anti-radicalization department
Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan acknowledged that there are problems in the municipality's department that works on combating radicalization among young people. An external team is being established to review the anti-radicalization department, Van der Laan wrote in a letter to the municipal council on Wednesday, NOS reports.
In August the Amsterdam municipality announced that Saadia a.-.T., the head of the Radicalization and Polarization department, was suspended due to conflicts of interest. She is suspected of giving jobs and assignments to people she knows. The integrity investigation is still ongoing.
In response to written questions from councilors, Mayor Van der Laan wrote that this was not an isolated incident. According to him, the department's method of operation was incorrect and not professional enough. "Because of that there was improvisation and the rules were not respected by all", he wrote, according to NOS. "The culture within the team and the network is too closed and the approach has become vulnerable to conflicts of interest and accusations of friendship politics."
The municipality of Amsterdam is therefore now establishing a team that will examine the department. Based on the team's findings, improvements will be made.
According to Van der Laan, integrity violations like this one has far reaching consequences. "It not only causes feelings of insecurity among civil servants, but also threatens to undermine the authority of all parties involved in the approach", he wrote in the letter to the city council. "The municipality unnecessarily wastes the the precious trust that was built up over the past years."
Van der Laan sent this letter to the city council in preparation for a debate on the Radicalization and Polarization department that is scheduled for Thursday.