Police in the Dutch city of Rotterdam have sparked controversy after announcing a strange pilot programme which will see the officers arrest young people wearing
When arrested, the civilian has a burden of proof of how he or she obtained the said expensive wear.
The police are also going to work with the department of state prosecution to determine which of the clothing to seize in case the owner fails to prove that he or she is wealthy enough to afford it.
The Rotterdam police chief, Frank Paauw is reported to have told De Telegraaf that, “They are often young guests who consider themselves untouchable. We’re going to undress them on the street.”
He added that, “We regularly take a Rolex from a suspect. Clothes rarely. And that is especially a status symbol for young people. Some young people now walk with jackets worth €1,800. They do not have any income, so the question is how they get there.”
The spokesperson said the items that will be of priority to the police are, “big Rolex[es], Gucci jackets, all those kinds of clothes.”
However, some people are wondering what specific crime the police intend to fight with the controversial programme. Some are also raising alarm that the programme may end up becoming a racial attack on blacks living in the city.
A 20-year-old resident of Rotterdam, Quincy is quoted by the VICE as saying “Police won’t consider a white guy walking around in an expensive jacket to be a potential drug dealer. But it’ll be a different story with minorities.”
Another resident by name, Ted also said “I think it’s a strange way of trying to catching criminals. Why not just arrest a drug dealer when he’s actually dealing drugs?”
The fear of residents has been validated by the city ombudsman, Anne Mieke Zwaneveld who reportedly told Algemeen Dagblad that “We realized that [they] do not want to create the appearance that there is ethnic profiling but the chances of this happening are very large.”
The ombudsman added that, “It is not forbidden to walk around in the street. In addition, it is often unclear how such a piece of clothing is paid and how old it is.”