[u]Dutch police say no to dope ban[/u]
WHEN it comes to turning a blind eye to cannabis use in Europes most tolerant city, police in Amsterdam are demanding the right to practise what they preach.
[b]Officers in the capital of the Netherlands are in open revolt against a new code of behaviour that orders them to stop taking drugs in their free time.
The new rules, due to come in on January 1, have upset officers who patrol the citys infamous coffee shops, where cannabis is smoked openly by locals and millions of tourists attracted by the city’s relaxed atmosphere.
It has been their duty for years to operate a policy of non-enforcement over the coffee shop culture. Now, the police union will back its members in defying the cannabis ban. The union has vowed to bring a test case in court when the first officer falls foul of the new rules, claiming that they amount to an unjustified intrusion into personal life[/b].
[i]Police should not be put in pigeonholes in which they can no longer be themselves, said Hans van Duijn, the chairman of the Nederlandse Politie Bond, the police union.
'If you allow people in the country to smoke (cannabis), you would be a hypocrite to say to the police officers, ‘You are not allowed to do that’.
‘It is illegal by law but we allow it for everybody else just to use it in small amounts for themselves. There must be scope for using soft drugs.’
The code, however, is only the latest example of a backlash against years of Dutch tolerance that have given Amsterdam a seedy reputation that the citys authorities are keen to reverse[/i].
[b]The city police force now wants all officers to set a better example. We are now saying: ‘You are also seen as a police officer when off-duty,’ a police spokesman said.
The code states officers must be ‘model citizens’[/b]. The words they must live by are ‘respect, transparency, responsibility, involvement, trustworthiness, justice and balance’.
Mr van Duijn remained defiant. ‘If there is an officer who has been smoking a soft drug in private and they catch him, we will go to court to ask to be treated as everybody else’.