‘They look too poor to wear that’: Dutch police to ‘undress’ youths wearing clothes deemed fancy

‘They look too poor to wear that’: Dutch police to ‘undress’ youths wearing clothes deemed fancy
Rotterdam police are targeting youths wearing outfits that appear too fancy for them to afford. Authorities say the controversial practice will help reduce crime in the Dutch port city.

Rotterdam police will soon deploy officers specifically trained to identify people whose clothes don’t seem to match their assumed income, De Telegraaf newspaper reported. Local police say the measure will help reduce crime on Rotterdam's streets. It appears that minorities will be more affected by the move than the native Dutch.

“They are often young guests who consider themselves untouchable,” Rotterdam police chief Frank Paauw told the newspaper. “We're going to undress them on the street.” Police will be scanning for luxury watches which are “a symbol of status for young people,” Paauw said. Officers will also be on lookout for expensive jackets and exclusive coats. People that police are going to target “do not have any income, so the question is how they get there.”

“We know they have clothes that are too expensive to wear with the money they get,” a spokesperson for the Rotterdam police department said, as reported by Quartz. “We’re going to look at how they get those clothes, where did they buy them, from where the money came.” Police maintain that wearing fancy outfits while having no money to actually buy it sends a wrong message to the public.

Critics have slammed the idea, saying the initiative is questionable from a legal standpoint and that it borders on racial profiling. However, in 2016, a poll found that the majority of Dutch people approved of racial profiling conducted by police.

When asked if it was acceptable for the police to single out people based on their ethnicity or skin color, 64 percent of respondents said it was alright to do so. The poll also found that 32 percent of the Dutch considered ethnic profiling a form of racism.