Prison sentence for threats to be increased to three years

The Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, would like to increase the maximum prison sentence for threats to individuals from two to three years. The maximum sentence for threatening mayors and other administrators would increase from two to four years. 'Threatening individuals is an unmistakable problem in society that has been troubling me to an increasing extent,' Grapperhaus wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives.

Practice reveals that the threats are becoming more and more serious in various ways. This has a significant impact on the lives of those involved. Grapperhaus:

'I find it of the utmost importance that we as a government, and certainly as a society in general, strongly resist this development.' Threats are aimed not only at administrators, but also at private individuals, civil servants and emergency service providers.

Personal threats are made on social media, administrators and civil servants are put under pressure and farmers are threatened if they refuse to make outbuildings available for growing cannabis. Other victims of such criminal activities are Port of Rotterdam employees and property entrepreneurs. Threats might even be part of the business model that criminals use, particularly where subversive crimes are involved. If, for instance, a municipal decision needs to be influenced, the mayor is threatened to achieve this. This could even involve arson or the use of weapons.

The current maximum penalty is no longer sufficient for the excessive threats, which in some instances have led to mayors having to go into hiding. By increasing and doubling the maximum penalties respectively, the social impact of threats will be reflected in legislation, which will also allow the government to show that threatening those in office will in no way be tolerated.

In recent years, a number of mayors have received threats from criminal circles. By doubling the current legal penalty, the government reinforces its position that such behaviour is taken extremely seriously and that it is determined to end it. As other individuals employed in public administration may also receive threats, the proposed extra increase will also apply to threatening other administrators, such as aldermen and members of the Provincial Executive. Minister Grapperhaus will submit a legislative proposal to this end before the summer recess.