Calling policemen "losers" is an offence

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

The Dutch supreme court has overturned the acquittal of a woman who insulted four policemen four years ago.

She had been acquitted by two lower courts. They had judged that although the words the woman used, like "oaf", "bastard" and "loser" were insulting, policemen should be able to take them.

The Supreme Court disagrees and says that such insults are intended to harm the recipient's reputation, and are therefore punishable. The case has been returned to the court in Friesland's provincial capital Leeuwarden. It has been ordered to take into account the verdict of the Supreme Court.

Handcuffing a woman (Staged; photo: FlickR/Roolrool)