Amsterdam: Dutch want police to take harsher measures against Moroccans
In an interview in Dutch newspaper De Pers, Amsterdam Police Commissioner Ad Smit discussed his 33 years of service in the force. He says that the police often faces ethnic Dutch pressuring them to act more severely against Moroccans.
Asked about Amsterdam-Oost Smit said that it's a fairly multicultural society, made up mostly of Moroccans. He says that there are less problems with the Moroccan youth there than in Amsterdam-West, which he says has to do with the fact that there are less apartments there. They sent an exceptionally active Moroccan inspector to the neighborhood with the most problems. He knows the language and culture and everybody respects him.
Despite that, he says that still there is a 'Moroccan problem' in Amsterdam-Oost, particularly with the Italian method - using a scooter to rob people. Smit says it happens once or twice a week. It's done mostly by young Moroccans, it's so simple.
Smit says that the ethnic Dutch are concerned about the immigrants, and too often they judge based on appearances. In Amsterdam-Oost, he says, the relationships are sometimes strained, and there are groups who openly talk about 'those bloody Moroccans'. In response he says that they don't know what they're talking about. There are 19,000 Moroccans living in the neighborhood, and if they would all commit just one crime a year, he would never have the crime-figures he now has, and therefore it's nonsense. The Moroccans attract more attention since they cluster together in groups in order to make themselves stronger, and that's noticeable on the street, but these groups are only twenty-thirty people, and not the thousands who just go on about their business.
The police commissioner says he had neighborhood gathering where people cursed Moroccans, and they curse them on the street too. When there's trouble, there are people shouting from the sidelines: if you don't intervene, we'll do it, in a different way, then the baseball bats will come out.
Smit says they don't accept such thing, it's taking the law into your own hands, and until now they've manage to deal with it and end it. At the beginning of the year he warned the heads of the police department that the ethnic Dutch are responding harshly to the Moroccans and that something must be done. Smit says that they've acted considerably: they've arrested dozens of robbers, and meanwhile paid extra attention - particularly the neighborhood police officers - that things don't get out of hand with the ethnic Dutch. But, he says, once you take away the problem, their reactions also fade.
At the moment it's limited to grumbling and cursing. He says that the police officers must be careful not to look as though they're choosing the ethnic Dutch side, and that they act if things go too far. The minute hands start flying, or once people organize collectively against certain group, he intervenes. If he, as a police chief, knows that a group is organizing to tackle another group, he'll arrest them all.
Smit says that as long as it's up to him, he'll deal with it with all his efforts, since it's unbelievably dangerous. He thinks it's easy to vent on others if things don't go well for you. And midway through the last century, we've had a very bad example of that.
Source: De Pers (Dutch)