Police union: Harder action must be taken against structural racism in the police force
Police officers need to know more about racism and discrimination in society, and the police need to be structurally tougher on the problem. That's according to Dutch Police Union (NPB) President Jan Struijs in a response to remarks made by Police Chief Janny Knol of the Oost-Nederland Unit. In an interview in AD, the police chief said that racism is a structural problem in the police and must be tackled as a structural problem.
"We see the same problem and think that there should be a social security plan so that this issue really gets on the police agenda and doesn't disappear," Struijs said. "Police officers need to start feeling the pain of those affected." That knowledge of racism should then counteract the problem both inside and outside the organization, the chairman claimed. "Because if you understand the pain of society, then you feel it as a police officer. And that's also something you have to do with your heart."
Last weekend, a video circulated on social media showing police officers making racist remarks in their time off-duty. As a result, six police officers were immediately suspended and an investigation was launched into the remarks and their involvement.
For Knol, this is not an isolated incident, she told AD. "If you put everything together, there have been so many incidents with the police that you can say that racism occurs structurally. It is a structural problem." It's not just the police, by the way. "When it comes to institutional racism, I think it's in a lot more places," the police chief claimed.
According to Struijs, discussions have since taken place with police unions, the Minister of Justice and Security and top officials about the Social Security Plan. "We have been trying to get the plan on the agenda for some time, because we see the same problem as Police Chief Knol. Racism and discrimination are too widespread, and we need to act harder. We need to engage with victims and take them seriously."
Reporting by ANP and NL Times