Cops don't believe police chief's promises to stop violence against them

Police
Police. (Politie)

After four police officers were injured during arrests in Rotterdam over the weekend, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom called violence against first responders unacceptable and called for harsher punishments. But for police officers, these words are not enough. The cops themselves no longer have confidence that anything will change, De Telegraaf reports based on messages on the National Police's internal communication channel. 

"The same tune from the police top every year. But I no longer really believe that anything will change. Apparently there must first be deaths", one officer wrote. Another: "Every time the talk: we're going to tackle it. Yes yes... avert your eyes and hold your nose." And: "Indignation and horror. Half the company floats on it. But actions, those are lacking. Every colleague sees and knows that."

The police unions are aware of this unrest, vice president Erwin Koenen of union ACP said to the newspaper. "It took a long time before Akerboom responded to the Rotterdam incident. Two days too late, we think", he said. Union NPB received some 90 emails from frustrated police officers after the Rotterdam incident. Police officers' confidence in politicians have reached a new low after 20 years of empty promises, Jan Struijs of NPB said. 

Rob den Besten, chairman of the police's Central Works Council, agrees. "That feeling lives widely in the workplace. Politicians disappoint our people. They are encouraged to file a report, but subsequently see no follow-up. And as long as community service is imposed for assaulting police officers, police officers have no faith in judges either."

In a response to De Telegraaf, police chief Akerboom said that he "knows, recognizes and shares the frustration of colleagues". He is also "fed up" with violence against his people. He is working on measures to protect police officers and other first responders. Akerboom previously called for dangerous fireworks to be banned over New Year's, harsher punishments for assaulting or threatening first responders, and for police officers to be equipped with body cams. 

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