Number of discrimination complaints agains police keeps growing, yet there are no consequences
The number of discrimination claims against the police have increased sharply this year. In the first nine months of this year, 168 complaints were filed, compared to a total of 135 in 2019. This is an increase of almost 25 percent, reports RTL Nieuws.
These figures were taken from the National Police, who assume that the increased attention to racism was partially caused by the spread of the Black Lives Matter movement after the killing of George Floyd in the United States.
The police reject most of the complaints, according to the analysis conducted by RTL Nieuws. Only in exceptional cases will the police agree with the plaintiff. For example, of the 70 discrimination cases that were handled by a specific complaints committee from 2016 to 2019, only two were deemed legitimate.
Moreover, the police do not know how many of all discrimination charges were handled satisfactorily. The police is, however, legally obliged to keep track of this data. Precisely because an important aspect of the complaint procedure is to restore trust between citizens and the police force. In response to the report, the police have expressed that they aim to improve this in the future.
Nothing to gain
“The plaintiff who takes the trouble to file a complaint seems to have nothing to gain personally or at least not much,” says research Lida van den Broek. She is a member of the North Netherlands complaints committee and wrote a report on the functioning of complaint procedures on behalf of the civil rights organization Control Alt Delete (CAD). According to her, the police and the complaints committees have too little knowledge about racism and discrimination.
“The isn’t much awareness about racism there. I read through a number of cases, and I just see that the complaints committees, just like many Dutch people in general, prefer to deny rather than acknowledge racism.” In addition, members of the committees are more likely to believe the officers than the plaintiffs, says Van den Broek.
Same old story
Control Alt Delete has been fighting against discrimination and ethnic profiling by the police for years. They assist citizens who feel that they have been discriminated against by the police. CAD sees these data figures as a confirmation of their daily experiences, namely that complaining citizens do not see the result of their actions.
“These citizens want to contribute to the fact that the police is there for everyone,” says Jaïr Schalwijk of Control Alt Delete. “However, they get bogged down in a procedure that is largely not independent, and that can take a long time. The police do not adopt an attitude of an organization that wants to learn.”
As far as the National Police is concerned, they don’t think that the procedure needs amendment. It’s all “sound,” said a spokesperson to RTL Nieuws. The police see no reason to doubt the opinion of the independent complaint committees.
Despite the modest results, both CAD and Lida van den Broek are urging people to continue to report cases of discrimination by the police. “Only then can we address the National police as united citizens.”