Dutch Program Trades Beer for “Police Call”
Amsterdam, Holland – In the United States Military, the practice of having people conduct “police call” simply means having them walk about an area picking up rubbish others have tipped. Well, Holland, never one to be confined by conventional in the box thinking, has devised a novel approach to keeping the streets clean: paying alcoholics in-kind with beer for picking litter off the streets.
The premise is root in a belief that if a person has an addiction they are otherwise unwilling to face, feed that habit while directing them to a habit of greater good. It’s the same basic premise at play with drug centers that give addicts the drugs they’re addicted to rather than having them commit crimes to feed their habits.
In this case, the non-profit group “Rainbow Group Foundation” aims to minimize the number of winos loitering city parks and keep city streets clean by giving them incentives for a day’s worth of litter retrieval duty. The incentives are five cans of beer, a half packet of smokes, €10 (£8) of pocket cash, and a hot meal. Thus far, the group has two 20-man teams that scour the streets of downtown Amsterdam thrice weekly performing an important service and getting free drinks at the same time.