Drug police in Amsterdam are going to fight for their right to party.
The men in blue (or whatever color Dutch police wear) in Amsterdam, the largest city in the Netherlands, are up in arms over a new code of behavior that orders them to quit using drugs in their free time.
Actually they are in “open revolt.
The new rules, due to come in on January 1, have upset officers who patrol the city’s infamous coffee shops, where cannabis is smoked openly by locals and millions of tourists attracted by Amsterdam’s relaxed atmosphere.
It has been their duty for years to operate a policy of nonenforcement 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 against the first officer to fall foul of the new rules, claiming that they amount to an unjustified intrusion into personal life.
Cops are people, too. They want to have some fun.
According to the head of the policemen’s union, the cops just “wanna be me”.
“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 neighbor kid’s mom is always saying that, too: there must be scope for using soft drugs.
Like so many cities around the world, the Dutch masters of Amsterdam have their “image” to consider. Amsterdam’s mayor has some big plans.
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 city’s authorities are keen to reverse.
This month Job Cohen, the Mayor, unveiled plans to convert scores of Amsterdam’s notorious prostitutes’ windows into fashion displays in an attempt to clean up parts of the red-light zone around some of the more attractive streets and canals. He has also led intense efforts to close coffee shops and so-called smart shops, which sell harder drugs such as magic mushrooms.
Dutch drug laws seem a bit confusing.
Supplying and possessing cannabis remains illegal in the Netherlands and police have always been banned from drinking or taking drugs on duty. But the city force now wants all officers to set a better example.
“Hitherto, it was only clear that you could not appear at your work drunk or stoned,” a police spokesman said. “We are now saying: You are also seen as a police officer when off-duty.” The use of alcohol is permitted when off-duty but officers should not be seen “drunkenly babbling on the street” in their free time, the spokesman said.
Drunkenly quoting Shakespeare is okay apparently.
The Amsterdam police have another code of behavior already in place–it’s kinda like the Boy Scouts.
The code states that officers must behave as “model citizens”. The key words they must live by are “respect, transparency, responsibility, involvement, trustworthiness, justice and balance”.
Mr van Duijn remained defiant. “If there is one police 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.”
The police will go to court so they can be allowed to smoke pot. That’s a switch from most countries.
Of course, there are the football games to consider.
Unlike the Police Federation in Britain, the NPB union has full powers of industrial action. In a dispute over pay, the NPB has forced the postponement of several top-level football matches this month by refusing to work overtime and is planning to use its strike powers from January 9 if it does not get a better salary offer.
One sympathizes with the Dutch police.
Instead of hoisting a few beers after a hard day’s work, why not twist one up?
It would seem to get confusing, however.
What happens if the police get a call from the chief ordering them to “bust a joint”?
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* Drug Police in Netherlands Demand Right to Smoke Cannibis