Nearly 7 million euros to tackle subversive crime in mainports

Dealing with organised subversive crime in two of our internationally important mainports – the Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – will receive an extra stimulus of nearly 7 million euros this year. Today, Minister Grapperhaus of Justice and Security wrote to the Dutch House of Representatives that he has earmarked these funds for this purpose. Our logistics hubs need to become more resilient to criminals who abuse our good economic infrastructure with their criminal practices. In addition to the extra impetus for how this is dealt with in the two mainports, a comprehensive plan is being developed to strengthen the security of logistics hubs, including other seaports and airports.

‘A record amount of drugs was intercepted in the Port of Rotterdam last year. Although the coronavirus pandemic has currently reduced air traffic at Schiphol, we are becoming increasingly familiar with the weak spots and risks thanks to intensive cooperation between investigative services, Customs, the Tax and Customs Administration, local government and the business community. We literally see the criminal underworld and mainstream society converging at container terminals and in the baggage basements of our seaports and airports. With inside help, criminals attempt to smuggle drugs, which is why we want to increase our efforts in these places. Making our mainports more resilient to criminal practices will allow us to reduce subversive crime.’

Minister Grapperhaus said.

Impetus for mainports

The main international flows of goods and passengers pass through the Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol airport, where a lot of work is already being done to reduce subversive activity. In consultation with the mayors of Rotterdam and Haarlemmermeer, an impetus is now being given to strengthen regional plans against organised subversive crime in the mainports: 5 million euros for the Port of Rotterdam and 1.9 million euros for Schiphol. By investing almost 7 million now, important points from these regional plans can be further implemented.This includes dealing with what are referred to as uithalers (retrievers), the individuals who retrieve smuggled drugs. These are criminals who are able to gain some control in logistics locations where goods are unloaded and reloaded. Their activities are an important link in the criminal networks that carry out illegal drug shipments. They receive help from corrupt employees, who facilitate the illegal practices from within.

The extra funds will be invested in such things as smart technology, tackling drug retrievers, greater administrative efforts, better security and increased supervision and investments in the resilience of employees at mainport sites. Measures are being taken to combat improper use of passes such as access cards and to increase the alertness of staff to anyone taking a 'very special interest' in their work and to 'strange movements' in and around the mainport. By strengthening the administrative approach, it should also be possible to intervene sooner at high-risk premises and business sites that are vulnerable to subversive activities.

Broader approach

The broad offensive being undertaken by the current government against organised subversive crime is not restricted to a criminal law approach. Government services, including municipalities, police and the Public Prosecution Service (OM), Customs and the Royal Marechaussee, are already working ever more closely with the business community in regional information and expertise centres (RIECs: Regionale Informatie- en Expertisecentra) to make our economic structures more resilient to criminal practices. Customs, the Tax and Customs Administration, the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD), the Royal Marechaussee and the Ministry of Defence are working together with the police and the Public Prosecution Service on building a multidisciplinary intervention team (MIT: Multidisciplinair Interventieteam). The objective of the MIT is to uncover, disrupt and dismantle criminal structures, illegal business processes and revenue models that are intertwined with or abuse our legal structures and economy.

In addition, a comprehensive plan for strengthening the security of logistics hubs is being drafted. Among others, recent assessments of subversive criminal activity are being used for this purpose.

‘The approach to subversive crime in the Port of Rotterdam and at Schiphol cannot be seen in isolation from what is happening at other logistics hubs. An intensified approach at a single location or a few locations should not cause problems to be displaced to other hubs.’

according to Minister Grapperhaus.