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Dutch News
The Hague police to tackle discrimination, recruit more minority officers 10/11/2015
Police in The Hague are introducing quotas and setting up special work experience schemes in an effort to encourage more people with an ethnic minority background to sign up. In addition, the police will do more to explain to people why they are carrying out stop and search procedures and will take the registration of discrimination complaints more seriously, mayor Jozias van Aartsen said on Thursday. While the introduction of quotas is controversial, ‘there is an urgent need for more cultural variety’ in police stations such as the one in the largely immigrant area of Schilderswijk. The Hague’s local force came under fire this summer for the heavy-handed way an Antillean holidaymaker was arrested. He died later in hospital. The death led to riots in Schilderswijk and other parts of the city, as well as complaints about the ‘daily reality’ of ‘racist police violence’. The police have now drawn up a 35-point plan to stimulate diversity and counteract discrimination. The Volkskrant article did not give more details about what form the quota would take, other than to say that more ethnic minority officers would be given promotion. Doubts Leiden criminology professor Joanne van der Leun told the paper that the experience with quotas for ethnic minority officers are not always encouraging. ‘You can bring them in but it is more difficult to keep them,’ she said. ‘Non-western police officers experience more pressures from outside the force and from existing police culture. Good leadership and team work is as least as important.’ She also raised doubts about plans to increase the use of bodycams. ‘What lies behind that?’ she asked. ‘Is it simply to collect evidence about their actions in the face of complaints, or will they be used to professionalise and generate feedback to change the culture?

Arithmetic test finds no parliamentary support

A majority of MPs on Tuesday voted against the introduction of the compulsory arithmetic test for secondary school pupils. Education minister Jet Bussemaker intended to make the test a key part of the high school diplomas from next year. Pupils who fail it will also fail the diploma. The aim is to improve standards following complaints about college students’ poor skills. No support However, MPs from the coalition Labour party and the main opposition parties do not support the plan. This puts Labour at odds with its coalition partners the right-wing liberal VVD. Labour MP Tanja Jadnanansing told news agency ANP: ‘As long as the standard of arithmetic taught in secondary schools has not improved, the test cannot be linked to the high school diploma.’ Earlier this year, unions and the secondary school council said pupils should not be the victims of hasty rule-making, bad tests and poor levels of education in some areas.

One in five Dutch hospitals in financial trouble

One in five Dutch hospitals is in serious financial trouble, according to the annual survey of hospital finances carried out by accountants group BDO. The research shows 22% of hospitals are in the financial danger zone, partly due to reduced demand for their services. In particular, small hospitals are in a difficult position, BDO said. ‘It would appear to be a question of time before more hospitals go bankrupt,’ accountant Chris van der Haak told broadcaster RTL. ‘If they are unable to get their financial affairs in order, they have no future.’ For years hospitals have been bailed out by the government when they run into financial problems but two years ago health minister Edith Schippers said she would no longer do this. Since then, a hospital in Spijkenisse and one in Dokkum have gone bust. Hospitals can boost their financial position by merging and closing down unprofitable departments, Van der Haak told RTL.

Women outstrip men in jobless benefit claims

For the first time ever in the Netherlands, the number of women claiming unemployment benefit (ww) has outstripped the number of men, the national statistics office CBS says. In July, 213,000 women were claiming the benefit, a lead of just 1,000 over male claimants, the CBS says. This shows that more men are finding work as the economy picks up than women, the organisation says. Women are more likely to work in the care industries, where employment levels have been hammered following government reforms. Two years ago, when the jobless total peaked, 240,000 men were claiming ww benefits, compared with 200,000 women.

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