Dekker: Government was remiss during detention of Michael P.

The government was remiss during the detention of Michael P. Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection, came to this conclusion based on the reports of the Dutch Safety Board (OVV: Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid), the Inspectorate of Justice and Security and the Inspectorate for Health and Youth Care (IGJ: Inspectie voor Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd). The reports reveal that the bodies in question lacked awareness of the risks involved, that procedures were not followed properly and that crucial information was not fully shared. The emphasis during the detention of Michael P. focused far too heavily on care and too little on the security of society. The conclusions and recommendations of the reports will be adopted.

 

'These conclusions are crystal-clear and reveal painful truths. This must be excruciating for Anne Faber's next-of-kin. No measure can alleviate their despair. However, it still remains clear what has to be done: I will do everything within my means to protect society as well as possible and to draw lessons from the mistakes that were made', Dekker said.

Investigations

Anne Faber's disappearance and murder in the autumn of 2017 rocked society. In addition to the criminal investigation that was launched, the then Minister, Stef Blok, requested the IGJ and the Inspectorate of Justice and Security to study the detention of the man being held as a suspect: Michael P. Shortly thereafter, the OVV also announced that it would be investigating his detention and the way in which municipalities are informed about risky detainees being released. The investigations have made painfully clear that improvements must be made. Where P. is concerned, emphasis was placed too heavily on his treatment and rehabilitation, granting him certain liberties without properly acknowledging the risk of his reoffending. In part this was due to the lack of safeguards in the system in which detainees are transferred to forensic care institutions. What also contributed to the mistake in this specific case were errors of judgement which subsequently failed to be corrected during P.'s detention.

Dekker: 'The prison system and forensic care institutions are hard at work dealing with the most difficult individuals on a daily basis. This awful incident has also had a tremendous impact on the professionals involved. The reports released by the inspectorates and the OVV clearly show that improvements need to be made, so that's exactly what we'll be doing.'

Measures

Minister Dekker will be taking measures related to the reports published today. Security, risk management and protection must always play a crucial role, even in cases where detainees with psychological problems are being treated during their detention. This why much stricter requirements will be demanded when detainees are transferred to forensic care facilities. Detainees will only be transferred if there is a complete picture of the risks involved, which currently is not sufficiently ensured. In addition, there will also be extra safeguards incorporated in the system to monitor this. Any detainees unwilling to be fully open about personal issues will also no longer be transferred. A transfer involving additional liberties will only be possible in the final phase of the sentence, never sooner. The information process will also be improved in which municipalities are informed about transfers and the freedoms of detainees who have been convicted of serious violent crime and sex crimes.

Earlier measures

Minister Dekker had already announced other measures related to this case at an earlier juncture. In the autumn of 2018, he announced a series of measures intended to prevent detainees from avoiding detention under a hospital order by refusing to cooperate with psychological assessment. In the summer of 2018, he also announced that €28.5 million would be allocated to investments in the quality and security in forensic care.