Thursday, December 01, 2022

Dutch police admit there is racism in their ranks

THE HAGUE, Netherlands ( Associated Press) — Dutch police chiefs vowed Wednesday to fight racism in their ranks, after a documentary exposed a deep-rooted culture of harassment and discrimination a month ago.

“The senior leadership of the police is clear: the organization has to lead by example in tackling discrimination and racism,” the police said in a statement posted on their website.

“If a police employee crosses the line, they will always be sanctioned, even dismissed if necessary,” interim national police chief Liesbeth Huyzer added in a statement.

The police announcement came after national television last month aired the documentary “De Blauwe Familie” (“The Blue Family”) around the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minnesota police.

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Floyd’s death sparked protests against racial injustice around the world, including in the Netherlands, a country often seen as a beacon of tolerance but which in recent years has shown entrenched discrimination in society.

The documentary sparked a national recognition of racism in the police ranks and a parliamentary debate, followed by commitments to do more to tackle the problem.

The advocacy organization Controle Alt Delete, which promotes better practices in law enforcement and which promoted the documentary, applauded the police statement and an accompanying video message, saying it was a “historic moment.”

Huyzer said police want to resolve the documentary’s central complaint. “That is that discrimination and exclusion happen, also in the police, and that the impact for colleagues is enormous,” he said. “We must be aware of that and work very hard to change it.”

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