In an interview that will appear in full tomorrow in the Dutch newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’, Amsterdam’s chief of police Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, elaborates on his department’s intent to allow the Islamic headscarf as a part of Amsterdam’s police uniforms.

Aalbersberg says:

“We’re discussing it. Imagine that if we don’t succeed in recruiting enough officers with a migration background, then it’s a meassure that can have an effect.”


Aalbersberg wants half of his force to consist of personal from a migration background. 52% of the city of Amsterdam has a non-native background, while in within the police force, this figure is ‘only’ 18%.  Aalbersberg states that:

“Amsterdam’s composition is changing. I think it should be subject of a debate that should involve the citizens.”

The new intent goes counter to a government directive that came into effect in 2011, which states that “wearing religious symbols is not in line with the neutrality of the police”.

Chief Aalbersberg is being advised by former Labour politician Fatima Elatik, who has been hired by the force to serve as Chief of Diversity.

According to Aalbersberg, Elatik can:

“Perfectly explain what the points of tension are. In recruiting personal, we too often think through our standard paterns. We’re fishing in our own pond too much. Fatima keeps me sharp.”

The Police Union (ANPV) meanwhile, is highly critical:

“With this proposal the police directorate has gone too far. We’re all in this country together, so stop emphasising our differences. Officers with a migration background are suffering because of this. They don’t want to be favoured because of their background.”