The chief of police in Amsterdam announced that police will not arrest women wearing burquas, even if a ban is the law. Police Chief Bernhard Welten said on public television, “I do not feel that I should always be an instrument of the government who always does what is asked.”
He also said that policemen have to use their “common sense.” Calling the burqua ban an "extremely complex dilemma," Welten said he will choose instead "civil disobedience." Welten further said he sees the job of the police to "to guarantee freedom, equality and justice."
Freedom Party MP Hero Brinkman, a former policeman, was outraged, saying, “The police should be subservient to the authorities. The government and parliament make the laws. The police enforce them. We would be a banana republic if it were the other way around.”
A bill to ban garments that cover the face is due to go to the Dutch parliament in the near future as part of a coalition agreement between the conservative VVD party and the Christian Democrats. The coalition is a minority government supported by the Freedom Party.
Brinkman also said that regional police chiefs had abused the room they have to use their own discretion for years. He predicted this will no longer happen under the current government. The Dutch police force is due to be reorganized, with the regional police corps merging into a national force. This means that the police will have just one chief.