Police whistleblower on racism, bullying placed on leave
A team chief of the Leiden police was placed on leave after she called public attention to racism, abuse of power and bullying within the police organization this summer. She was sent home because her criticism caused "too much internal tensions" at the police unit Den Haag, which covers Leiden, NRC reports.
Team chief Fatima Aboulouafa has been working at the police for 23 years. A year ago she was made chief of a unit of 130 police officers. In June she made a post on Instagram in which she discussed discrimination within the police. She wrote that whistleblower are met with a "blue wall of silence", and that police officers accused of crossing a line are not suspended due to capacity problems.
On Tuesday Aboulouafa got a call from a corps leader of the National Police informing her that her presence "caused unrest amount unit leaders, sector leaders, and team leaders". She was told that she is too confrontational with other police chiefs and leaders, according to the newspaper.
Liesbeth Huyzer of the corps leadership confirmed to NRC that Aboulouafa was placed on leave. According to her, an "unworkable situation" has arisen. "The goal of the unit leadership and police force leadership is to achieve a sustainable solution. A break was therefore proposed to bring peace to this situation", Huyzer said to the newspaper.
NRC calls Aboulouafa's forced leave remarkable, because after speaking to her after her Instagram post this summer, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom emphasized the importance of diversity within the police. In a blog he called it "painful and unacceptable" that "the leadership sometimes overlooks" reports of wrongdoing by police officers. In August he announced that the police are launching a national, independent hotline for police officers who are discriminated against, intimidated or sexually harassed by their colleagues.