Policemen have the option of registering suspects or perpetrators of misdemeanours as “gypsies” in the general police database. The inter-federal centre for equal opportunity is requesting the police force end this practice, reveal De Standaard and Het Belang van Limburg on Wednesday. Federal or local police officers can check the box “gypsy” in the national general database (BNG) when entering facts as part of a statement or when profiling an offender. According to the press office of the federal police, the aim is not to target someone based on his ethnicity, but to register someone as being homeless or a traveller. “The word “gypsy” does not mean a gang of roaming offenders,” explains Kaatje Natens, police spokesperson.
The minority forum and the inter-federal centre for equal opportunity request the end of this policy. “The word gypsy is without connotations,” reckons Jozef De Witte from the centre. “The police must question this aspect of their database.”