45 observers in Amsterdam's stop-and-search trial
A maximum of 45 people will participate in a trial with observers against ethnic profiling by the police during preventive frisking in Amsterdam. They were selected "in order of arrival" from a total of 173 people who signed up, Mayor Femke Halsema said in letter on Monday.
The trial starts on 1 September. The intention is for the observers to take to the streets with the police and watch them perform preventive frisking. With this, the municipality wants to investigate whether the police really choose people at random and not on the basis of skin color or other characteristics.
The municipality previously said that in principle thirty observers were needed, but also that an expansion of that number would be looked at. The weapon checks will happen in five neighborhoods: Bijlmer-Centrum, Burgwallen Nieuwe Zijde, Geuzenveld, Dapperbuurt, and Waterlandpleinbuurt.
Observers will be made aware of the risks of participating, such as the possibility of becoming involved in a possible escalation of violence or the possibility of being called as a witness in a criminal case. The observers will be told where to go very shortly before the weapons checks begin.
Last week, four police unions said that they want the trial with the observers scrapped. They spoke of mistrust of the Amsterdam police and did not rule out actions if mayor Halsema does not heed their call. "Police officers feel wronged by the political fear of ethnic profiling," they said in a statement.
Halsema wrote that the four unions were invited for a meeting "to further discuss their concerns".