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Dutch plan to bar police from country’s drug cafes

By Hempology | September 9, 2003

While drug cafes are tolerated by Dutch authorities, a cabinet minister wants to
make them off-limits for police officers.

From the Globe and Mail, September 9th, 2003

Being drunk on duty is one thing, but the Dutch government is concerned that too many
of its police officers are getting stoned on and off duty and is planning to bar them
from the country’s infamous “coffee shops” – drug cafes.

Interior Minister Johan Remkes told De Telegraaf newspaper that he fears the
spectacle of spliff-wielding police officers is chipping away at the force’s
respectable public image.

He believes that the Netherlands’ finest risk being accused of hypocrisy when they
carry out spot checks for drugs if they are smoking marijuana themselves.

“A police officer has an exemplary role to fulill and has to show some authority,”
he told the paper.

“They could be in a difficult position if they have to stop and search people for

Although the country’s 1,500 drug cafes are tolerated by the authorities, customers
can only buy five grams (about a sixth of an ounce) at a time, and hard drugs are not

Mr. Bemkes said he wants to bar police officers from frequenting coffee shops
both on and off duty. His liberal VVD party is also pushing to bar other officials,
such as government ministers.

The government is under pressure to act after a television documentary revealed
that senior officers in Amsterdam regularly used hard drugs and even dealt ecstasy
and cocaine to colleagues. The documentary led to the sacking of 12 officers.

According to a leaked report from the police’s internal-affairs department, two of
the 12 claimed that a quarter of the personnel at the central Amsterdam Beursstraat
station used hard drugs. The probe was launched after a detective saw a police brigadier
popping ecstasy while on a stakeout.

Witnesses described occasions when officers were so high on ecstasy that they couldn’t
find Amsterdam’s main shopping street.

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