Since December 2013 Controle Alt Delete has developed itself as an independent, critical and constructive organization. We campaigned against racial profiling, promoted measures and measuring instruments, organized events, produced films and situation tests, lobbied within the police force and politicians to create allies, did a lot of media performances, wrote critical blogs, helped with researches, handed solutions, worked closely together with several organizations like Amnesty and did much more which have resulted in the following:
- racial profiling is part of the national public debate on racism;
- racial profiling has become a priority to encounter among all human right organizations;
- racial profiling is being acknowledged by the minister of justice and by the highest national police chef;
- the national police has proposed a set of measures to counter racial profiling. The promised actions and set of measures are: every unit will have one or more police officers dedicated to raise awareness on the topic of racial profiling and discuss it with colleagues, a specific training against racial profiling in every police unit, a national code of conduct regarding proactive police checks, a better digital technique to recognize the amount of times vehicles has been stopped and more diversity within the police.
The above can seem like great accomplishments (and it is), but we are still weary. The proposed measures against racial profiling aren’t tackling the cause of the problem: the act of suspecting or targeting a person of a certain race based on a stereotype about their race, rather than on individual suspicion. Part of the current policy is that the police is still using grounds such as race, color and religion in everyday police work. Being overrepresented in criminal statistics is generally seen within the police as a reasonable ground for a check. It’s the reliance on a group of characteristics they believe to be associated with crime. Examples are the use of race to determine which drivers to stop (in the US commonly referred to as 'driving while black or brown')
A new policy document, released end of 2017, makes clear that the police is using a new definition of racial profiling. The definition explains that the use of race, skin color, language, et cetera in police decisions is only allowed if there’s an objectively justifiable reason to do so. This practically means that the police can only use race/skin color if they are looking for a suspect. If a person, based on his/her appearance, belongs to a group that is overrepresented in criminal statistics, this isn’t an objectively justifiable reason to use race/skin color. So seemingly, ‘not belonging’ in a neighborhood or vehicle on the basis of your appearance doesn’t constitute a reasonable ground for a stop. This is explicitly written down in the new code for ‘conscious and careful police stops’ and policy document. Just to be clear: the radical changes of the policy document that we outline were inserted by us and not by the police.
CAD is closely following the implementation of all the measures taken against racial profiling. Important question is how the police will monitor the effects of these measures on the people affected by racial profiling. We’ve advised that all the measures have to be accompanied by indepenent research to assess whether the measures have changed the behavior of officers on the ground.