— AT5 (@AT5) July 3, 2017
The mobile police stations placed to protect Amsterdam’s Jewish institutions from violence and terrorism, will next week be removed, the city’s police force announced. The mobile stations are an uncomfortably familiar sight near synagogues, cultural organisations (like the Anne Frank House) and Jewish schools. But from next week, they will be gone and the police force dedicated to protecting and surveilling Jewish institutions will be reduced from 58 to 32 men. According to Fred Driessen, spokesman for police union ANPV to local broadcaster AT5:
“Because technology has developed in such a way that we can all watch them through cameras. One police officer can watch multiple objects at once.“
So when the new working schedule becomes active on 14 July, the police protection will be replaced with cameras. Hopefully, they will remember to actually turn them on.
The municipality had announced the measure previously and claims that the cameras are enormously advanced. Although they lack the deterrence of a mobile station, cameras are said to be more effective and efficient. They have been extensively tested. The municipality does not, however, expect that it will remove all the mobile stations all at once after Friday 14 July, but that they will be removed gradually. Institutions and neighbourhood residents will be informed when their local mobile station will be removed.
In a statement to AT5 the municipality explains the move:
“Placing the cameras is not the consequence of a change in the level of threat. The threat is unchanged and substantial, with an elevated imaginable threat to Jewish institutions in Amsterdam. No change is made to the other measures, visible and invisible.“
Why exactly the police describes camera measures as “more effective” when they at the same time admit that it’s not much of a deterrent, remains unclear.