The Return Of Sumptuary Laws? Dutch Cops To 'Undress' Youths Wearing "Clothes Deemed Too Expensive For Them"

If you thought America's civil asset forfeiture laws were horrific, police in The Netherlands will literally take the short off your back...


The Independent reports that police in the Dutch city of Rotterdam have launched a new pilot program 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.

"They are often young guests who consider themselves untouchable. We're going to undress them on the street, "says Rotterdam police chief Frank Paauw.

As Climateer recently noted, this appears to be the return of 'Sumptuary Laws'

In ancient Greece: "A free-born woman may not be accompanied by more than one female slave, unless she is drunk; she may not leave the city during the night, unless she is planning to commit adultery; she may not wear gold jewelry or a garment with a purple border, unless she is a courtesan; and a husband may not wear a gold-studded ring or a cloak of Milesian fashion unless he is bent upon prostitution or adultery."

Agents are specially trained to eventually recognize the exclusive coats of suspects of criminal activities with a trained eye.

"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 euros. They do not have any income, so the question is how they get there ", says Paauw.

But, as The Independent reports, critics have attacked the idea saying it is a “slippery slope” towards racial profiling

City ombudsman Anne Mieke Zwaneveld told AD: “We realised that [they] do not want to create the appearance that there is ethnic profiling but the chances of this happening are very large.” 

She said it would be very legally difficult to prove officers were justified in taking people’s coats in the middle of the street:

“It is not forbidden to walk around in the street. In addition, it is often unclear how such a piece of clothing is paid and how old it is.

Jair Schalkwijk,a spokesman for a national anti-profiling organisation Control Alt Delete, believes the policy is against a previous promise by police not to target people who look like “typical criminals”.