Police in the Dutch city of Rotterdam have launched a new pilot programme which will see them confiscating expensive clothing and jewellery from young people if they look too poor to own them.
Officers say the scheme will see them target younger men in designer clothes they seem unlikely to be able to afford legally – if it is not clear how the person paid for it, it will be confiscated.
The idea is to deter criminality by sending a signal that the men will not be able to hang onto their ill-gotten gains.
Rotterdam police chief Frank Paauw told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: “They are often young men who consider themselves untouchable. We’re going to undress them on the street.
“We regularly take a Rolex from a suspect. Clothes rarely. And that is especially a status symbol for young people. Some young people now walk with jackets of €1800. They do not have any income, so the question is how they get there.”
He said the young men targeted often have no income and are already in debt from fines for previous convictions but wearing expensive clothing.
This “undermines the rule of law” which sends “a completely false signal to local residents”, he explained.
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