You may have referred to your friend as the fashion police here and there as a joke about them pointing out your less than trendy outfit. But what if your local city police was actually the fashion police as well?
The city of Rotterdam police have in fact taken on such a role, as shocking as it may sound. They have come up with a rather controversial trial plan with the goal of reducing crime. The program is set to target young men who are wearing items that appear to be expensive or designer, and look as though they are not actually capable of having purchased the clothing or jewelry themselves.
If the suspects are not able to prove to the fashion police that they actually are financially capable of having made such a purchase, then the police will take away the items from there, stripping them down on the street in front of everyone.
This plan intended to be in action for only a set period of time in order to see how effective it really can be. The public prosecution department together has joined forces with the Rotterdam police department to see what they can legally take away from suspects.
The idea of the program is to send a message to criminals that they cannot keep the items they have stolen.
The Rotterdam police chief told the Dutch press that they will rarely take clothes from a suspect, and most often will take items such as a Rolex, which is a real status symbol among youngsters. Some even go around with jackets that cost thousand of dollars, and it appears to the authorities as though the only explanation is theft.
The police spokesperson had no problem explaining what type of items they are going to be specifically on the lookout for, however could not touch on what kind of crime they are aiming to reduce through the program.
The program has been highly criticized, arguing that such methods of confiscation are illegal and is racial profiling. Police will most likely not stop a white guy walking around with a Rolex, but for minority populations, the situation will probably be much different.
The ombudsman of Rotterdam does admit that it can get tricky and complicated from a legal perspective to actually prove that police officers had proper justification in taking clothing from people. Walking around is completely legal, and the cost of an item is often rather ambiguous.
Furthermore, youngsters are sometimes supported by their well-off parents, and designer items can always be purchased online for a reduced price. The program will most likely only breed negative feelings and harm the relationship between the local police and the population.