A'dam police barred from smoking marijuana

13th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 December 2007, AMSTERDAM – Police officers of the Amsterdam-Amstelland police force will be barred from smoking marijuana when off duty come 1 January. This is contained in a code of conduct distributed to all employees.

13 December 2007

AMSTERDAM – Police officers of the Amsterdam-Amstelland police force will be barred from smoking marijuana when off duty come 1 January. This is contained in a code of conduct distributed to all employees.

The radio programme De Ochtenden reported this on Thursday. The police force is the first in the Netherlands to bar officers from using soft drugs while off duty.

The police should set an example and the use of soft drugs is therefore inappropriate, according to the Amsterdam code. "Until now it was only clear that you could not show up for work stoned or drunk," says chairman of the Works Council for the Amsterdam-Amstelland police Frank Gittay. "We are now saying: colleagues, you are also seen as policemen when you are off duty." The Works Council itself took the initiative for the guideline.

The code also takes a firm stance on the use of alcohol. Gittay says it is unacceptable for an officer to be excessively drunk, even off duty. The code states that police officers must behave as "model citizens." Key words are respect, transparency, responsibility, commitment, reliability, justness and balance.

The Dutch Police Union opposes the code. Chairman Hans van Duijn doubts there is such a thing as an ideal citizen. He does not think that officers should be "pigeonholed" to the point that "they cannot be themselves."

The implicit ban on soft drugs denies what has happened in politics and in society, says Van Duijn. "Latitude in fact has been created for the citizen to use soft drugs."

A national code for police personnel is also in the works, but is far less concrete, De Ochtenden reports. Various forces have asked to examine the Amsterdam code. It is not known whether they will decide to adopt the guidelines however.

The Amsterdam department of the ACP police union says the guideline goes too far. "What people do in their free time is up to them. The boss doesn't pay 24 hours per day after all," says chairman Cees van der Roer.

The employer may confront the employee about his behaviour if it compromises his performance on the job however, the union chairman says.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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