Dutch police leaders vow to tackle racism in their ranks

Jun 8, 2022, 5:07 AM | Updated: 5:10 am

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The most senior Dutch police officers vowed Wednesday to crack down on racism in their ranks after a documentary last month exposed a deep-rooted culture of bullying and discrimination.

“The police top is clear: the organization has to set an example in tackling discrimination and racism,” a statement on the police website said.

“If a police employee crosses the line, they will always be sanctioned, if necessary by being fired,” interim national police chief Liesbeth Huyzer said in a statement.

The police announcement came after the documentary “De Blauwe Familie,” or “The Blue Family,” aired on national television last month around the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police.

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

The documentary triggered a national reckoning with police racism and a parliamentary debate, followed by pledges to do more to deal with the problem

Controle Alt Delete, an advocacy organization that pushes for better law enforcement practices, and initiated the documentary welcomed the police statement and a video message accompanying it as a “historic moment.”

Huyzer said police want to address the documentary’s core message.

“That is that discrimination and exclusion happen, also in the police force and that the impact for colleagues is enormous,” she said. “We must be aware of that and work extremely hard to change it.”

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Dutch police leaders vow to tackle racism in their ranks