A crisis has hit Roze in Blauw, the LGBTQI+ network within the Amsterdam police force. Several parts of the LGBTQI+ community have expressed their concern about the crisis. The LGBTQI+ organization COC has expressed its’ concern publicly. The COC is concerned the unrest within the Amsterdam police department will affect its’ care and attention for LGBTQI+ issues. The COC releases this statement after the complete board of the Amsterdam branch of Roze in Blauw quit in a short succession of time.
The Amsterdam branche of the organization has lost its’ president, the (inter)nationally famous Ellie Lust. Ms Lust is apart from being a well-known police spokesperson and a lesbian icon, also a well know tv personality in The Netherlands. The police leaderships asked her to choose between her police work and her tv work. After some hard soul-searching, Ellie Lust felt she had to leave the force.
What was behind the crisis?
That was reason for vice-president Frido Stein to give up his place out of solidarity. Three other board members followed his move, albeit for varied reasons. For the COC organization this is a sign of a structural problem within the Amsterdam police. For a long time the Amsterdam police force has difficulty finding new volunteers within the force to join the Roze in Blauw organization. According to COC the reason behind that is the lack of time made available to do the work for Roze in Blauw.
Roze in Blauw is crucial in the fight against hate crimes against LGBTQI+ people. Victims of these hate crimes often don’t feel taken serious by the police, when they report these crimes. Roze in Blauw is often that sympathetic ear, because it is easier to report such a crime to a fellow LGBTQI+ person in uniform. But since fewer people can and will join Roze in Blauw, fewer LGBTQI+ police officers are available for taking up these hate crime reports.
All the more reason for the COC to write an open letter (in Dutch) to the Amsterdam police. The call upon the police to invest in the Roze in Blauw network. COC finds this a crucial investment to improve the willingness of LGBTQI+ victims of hate crimes to report these crimes. At the moment only 10% of victims report these crimes, according to the COC.
The police is responding
The Amsterdam police didn’t wait long to react to this letter en the worries of the LGBTQI+ community. They spoke of their appreciation of the concerns of the COC. Members of Roze in Blauw do want to serve the LGBTQI+ community as good as possible, but often have to do that next to their main job. For example when a victim of hate crime wants to make a report, but the officers of Roze in Blauw have to respond to another emergency.
They stressed that the work of Roze in Blauw will continue, but in a new way. New board members have been found. In the past these board members were appointed for life. Now they will have term times of about three years. This may make it more attractive for LGTQI+ police officers to step forward to become a board member.
On their Facebook page the Roze in Blauw network put on a message after these new reports. In it they stated, that the members of Roze in Blauw will keep on serving the LGBTQI+ community.
Update: New board has been installed
In a reaction to our Facebook message about this article, Roze in Blauw quickly reacted. Old news in their eyes, because a new board has been formed and the LGBQTI+ network within the Amsterdam police “is serving the community as ever”. In the reaction they presented the new board consisting of Faycal, Irene and Mark.