Not above the law

Not above the law

The conviction of no fewer than five policemen and one -woman in Curaçao (see related story) should serve as a warning for justice personnel throughout the Dutch Caribbean. They were sentenced to varying prison terms and banned from the corps for several years.

These suspects had abused their power by executing raids and confiscating items with neither the permission nor established probable cause required. In addition, two of the related reports filed afterwards contained untruths.

The judge held it against them that their actions undermine the trust people need to have in the police and betrayed the confidence of their colleagues. In doing so they damaged the reputation of the force, with all possible consequences.

Authorities command and deserve respect for their function but still need to follow the applicable rules. The special position they have within the community also means being held to a higher standard than most “regular” folks.

The latter is understandable, because these are armed and uniformed officers whose orders must in principle be obeyed by the public. And while they play a very important and admirable role as society’s so-called last line of defence, this must always be done “by the book.”

Ultimately, nobody is above the law.