Dutch politicians and police are equally impotent. Politicians the world over love their sound-bites and photo ops, appearing on TV trying to convince the people that their policies are effective and for the greater good of the people who elected them in the first place. Meanwhile they sit on their asses, do bugger all and drink the cream from society, while the rest of the country goes down the toilet. The Dutch politicians have turned this into an art all of its own.
The Dutch police are good for one thing and one thing only…..doling out fines to the normal Jan Hollander for riding his bike without a light, or parking illegally or walking your dog without a leash. Heaven forbid they actually do real police work, like coming to your house when you’ve being burgled, arrest someone who assaulted you on the street or competently investigate a rape/murder case resulting in a successful arrest and conviction.
But the perception of the police force in Amsterdam was steadily changing for the better. Sure, they were still doling out fines for illegal parking and cycling offences, but they were determined to crack-down on the true scourge that has ravaged Amsterdam, a heinous crime that has gone completely out of control……PICKPOCKETING.
They sent a dedicated team of officers, most of them dressed as normal tourists, out onto the streets of Amsterdam and managed to arrest pickpockets left, right and centre. They were so good at it that they were nicking up to seven people a day on a good day. Job well done, right?
Erm, not really. Because they got a little carried away with themselves after they nicked the 1000th pickpocket. Thrilled with their success, they celebrated by way of sticking a sign on the back of the alleged’s coat with “1000” written on it. This was of course captured on camera for all to see. So the police didn’t exactly conduct themselves in a professional and impartial manner, and their behaviour towards the woman whom they arrested was humiliating. Afterall, the ethos of prosecutorial law the world over is the presumption of innocence :- “Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat” or “Innocent until proven guilty“.
So that explains the stupidity of the Dutch police force. What of the politicians I hear you ask? Well, they’ve not been left out in the cold on this either. In fact, they’ve even gone and done one better. The public prosecution department in Amsterdam decided NOT to prosecute the woman due to the humiliation she suffered during her arrest!
City police chiefs criticised the action, saying it was ‘extremely inappropriate‘, but the public prosecutor said it would not take any legal action because of all the publicity. The Justice Minister, Ivo Opstelten called on officials to explain why the ‘unfortunate pickpocket‘ (interesting choice of words there) would not face charges.
As far as I can tell, it seems more a case of “Shit, we did something completely inappropriate, now how do we save our asses? I know…let’s drop the charges so she doesn’t file charges against us for our well-documented inappropriate behaviour.”
What saddens me is that the police who humiliated her should ALSO be prosecuted and punished. It shouldn’t be that nobody is held accountable at all. She was arrested lawfully because she was caught in the act. It was only the subsequent treatment of her that was demeaning and unlawful.
And by the way….why aren’t the police going after the real crooks? The typical Dutch reaction is this….if you rob an apple from the supermarket, you can expect the full wrath of the police and prosecution services. But if you rob people of their savings, pensions and hard earned money, you get elected to office or promoted to the board of a bank or insurance company! Who are the real criminals?