CAD #5 - the revolution

A summary in text and video of the fifth annual Controle Alt Delete event in The Melkweg in Amsterdam, 11th of December 2017

woensdag 13 december 2017

Code Blue – The Revolution
Despite the code red announcement due to heavy snowfall and slipperiness, Controle Alt Delete organized their yearly event on Monday the 11th of December in a venue called ‘De Melkweg’ in Amsterdam. The weather conditions were extreme, but Controle Alt Delete succeeded in bringing together 150 citizens and the police.

Big Boy Caprice (Dutch R&B Singer) opened the evening with a moving version of Sam Cooke’s ‘A change is gonna come’, while a group of older human right activist filled up the main stage together with young activists. This was to symbolize that the battle against racial profiling exists much longer than when Controle Alt Delete began it's mission in 2013.

Agreements have been met
During the Controle Alt Delete meeting in Amsterdam internal documents of the police were made public. These documents show that the police has finally taken up the battle against racial profiling by making progressive and radical changes to their policy and instructions. The new policy includes an action framework which provides police officers with progressive and renewed instructions while carrying out proactive police inspections. The radical and progressive changes are:

  1. the police takes over the same definition of racial profiling as Amnesty International, the Ministry of Safety and Justice and Controle Alt Delete;
  2. overrepresentation in crime statistics cannot be a reason anymore for police inspection;
  3. police officers cannot use offender profiles to inspect civilians solely because they look like the ‘typical’ offenders. 

Policy vs practice
The police put some progressive steps by adjusting the policy. However, how is this policy put into practice? The first roundtable discussion was with cultural anthropologist Sinan Çankaya and police officer Peter Slort who is responsible for diversity at the National Police. They discussed the implementation of the new policy. The discussion showed that the renewed action framework is part of the new policy, but that training regarding this new policy is not obligatory for police officers. The police mentioned that officers should be open for this kind of training for a real change of attitude to occur. The audience reacted displeased when hearing this. Sinan mentioned that until now intrinsic motivation of police officers has not led to change and that these changes within the organization were only implemented because of external pressure.

Discussion about monitoring of inspections
One of the instruments about which Peter Slort was positive, is a new MEOS app. This tool makes it possible for officers, before a citizen is stopped, to check how often someone already has been inspected and how often a police report has been made up. Starting February 2018, the National Police will test the MEOS-app on ten teams. According to Peter Slort this app monitors which citizens are being inspected by police officers and how often. A reaction of Sinan and the audience was: “Why isn’t the MEOS-app being used to check how often police officers stop citizens without reasons and how often racial profiling occurs instead of only being used to check up on citizens? Sinan stressed the necessity for systematic monitoring of police inspections. Citizens in the audience mentioned that transparency from the police organizations is necessary regarding the decisions they take.

Impact and trust
The second roundtable discussion was held with Mo Anouar (Controle Alt Delete), Mitchell Esajas (New Urban Collective) and Dino Suhonic (St. Maruf). Their topic was the impact of racial profiling and the trust society has in the police force. Once again, the audience showed its dissatisfaction about the fact that the police refuse to use the app to monitor the effectiveness of police officers. Mo Anouar mentioned: “as a cleaner, I would be more often and more strictly checked upon than I would as a police officer, while more can go wrong in the work of a police officer.” Mitchell and the public indicated that trust in the police is decreasing because of several actions, including police performance during the roadblock and the aftermath on the road to Dokkum against the anti-black Pete human right activists. A teacher sociology in the audience mentions that these events have led to decreasing trust in the police. “How can I convince my students that the police are righteous, while things like this happen? They don’t understand it and neither do I”.

Finally, in the third-round table discussion Cemil Yilmaz (IZI Solutions) made clear to the police that it is important to use the MEOS-app as a measure tool; measuring is knowing. Who is being stopped? Why? What is his/her ethnicity? And what is the result of having stopped this person? Bas Böing, program manager at the police also wants this information, but it’s not that easy to collect it. The question that followed was: What is possible then? Unfortunately, we still do not know. The director who is responsible for policy and execution of policy could not be present due to the bad weather conditions. It was agreed upon that these questions and some others will be answered in the upcoming week and that we will report about this.

New agreements
During this night Controle Alt Delete together with the audience was able to make the following agreements with the police:  

  • Peter Slort will discuss with Controle Alt Delete the possibilities of looking into and possibly adjusting the performance appraisals regarding the treatment of citizens.
  • The curriculum of the police academy will be made public.
  • Within one year from now the police will react on the thirty complaints directed towards the police, which have currently been reported to Controle Alt Delete.

The evening was hosted by Dionne Abdoelhafiezkhan (Controle Alt Delete) and accompanied by impressive performances by Guillermo ‘Gimotion’ Blinker, Dean Arma and Atta de Tolk.  Even though there is still much work to do, the yearly organized Controle Alt Delete event resulted in a successful night. Hereby we would like to thank Sinan Çankaya, Peter Slort, Bas Böing, Mitchell Esajas, Mo Anouar, Dino Suhonic, Guillermo Blinker, Dean Arma and Atta de Tolk for their very valuable contribution this night. Most of all we would like to sincerely thank all the persons who took the effort to be present at this evening, despite the heavy weather conditions and who accompanied us in our battle against racial profiling.