Much more needs to be done over the next ten years to tackle undermining crime in the Netherlands, both nationally and regionally and locally. Liquidations, huge cocaine seizures in the port of Rotterdam and the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum are just a few examples of the increasingly out-of-control drug industry in the Netherlands.
That is why we need a kind of delta plan, a ‘pact for the rule of law’, concludes former mayor Peter Noordanus of Tilburg in a report that will become public tomorrow. Noordanus is also chairman of the Strategic Council on Submining, a consultative group with the Public Prosecution Service, the National Police, the Tax and Customs Administration, various ministries and city networks such as the Dutch municipalities (VNG) and the G40.
“Our country has had numerous warnings in recent years,” writes Noordanus. His report doesn’t lie about it: a lot has to be done and quickly. “It’s about acknowledging that we need to tackle drug crime more massively, more innovatively, faster and more broadly than we have done so far
Higher sentences and more crown witnesses
“We are not sufficiently aware that the various incidents, such as the coiled cocaine laundry in Nijeveen and the torture chambers in Brabant, represent a large organised drug industry in our country,” says Noordanus to the CCeit. “And you can only reduce them by working on them with a multi-year, integrated plan.”
The report advocates various adjustments to the current approach to undermining crime, such as regional undermining brigades, more international investigations and a significant increase in the level of punishment. “The current sentences are literally being increased by criminals,” the report states. “They are at such a low international level that it partly explains why drug production is being concentrated in the Netherlands”
Noordanus also wants to push for a widening of the crown witness scheme: “The use of crown witnesses is an indispensable means to track down and hit hard closed criminal drug organisations” Now the legal possibilities for that are insufficient, he says: “Just like a good way of protection.”
Fund with 400 million
He concludes that more structural investments must be made and argues that a structural undermining fund of 400 million euros is needed. “That’s a lot of money, but the drug industry is also causing us a lot of damage. Think of major incidents of violence and damage to the image of other countries, but also of young people who end up in the drug industry at an early age. You can’t afford that socially.”