New action plan for government and business owners to combat crime
The government has joined forces with business owners to prevent and reduce crime. When Minister of Justice and Security Yeşilgöz-Zegerius took office, the government started working with the business community on a new action programme, dubbed Safe Enterprise 2023–2026 (Veilig Ondernemen 2023-2026). This programme was officially adopted today as part of the National Crime Prevention Platform (Nationaal Platform Criminaliteitsbeheersing, NPC). The three priorities that have been adopted are a. preventing cybercrime in the business community, b. tackling organised crime, and c. tackling local and regional crime, such as aggression, theft and robbery.
‘A downside of our open economy and society is that it has made our country attractive to criminals. Organised crime is constantly trying to find new ways to launder money through legitimate businesses and to pursue its nefarious dealings at the expense of others. Bona fide business owners are facing unfair competition because criminals are able to finance their businesses quickly with ill-gotten gains. Criminals also appear to have hit on a new revenue model, using clever tricks online to cheat businesses and private citizens out of their money. Moreover, the theft or collection of drugs from lorries is often accompanied by extreme violence. We can only reduce these risks by working together.’
says Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius.
Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius had consulted with the various business sectors and the employers’ organisations – the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and the Dutch Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MKB-Nederland) – on the new Safe Enterprise Action Programme since January. The parties have agreed to work with business owners, sector organisations, the National Police, the Public Prosecution Service and the municipalities to focus on the following three priorities:
Business owners are having to deal with cybercrime increasingly often. One in five suffers a cyber attack every year. This situation worsened during the coronavirus pandemic, with a 200% rise in cybercrime-related incidents in 2019–2021. At the same time, business owners are becoming ever more reliant on IT. As large enterprises currently seem to be best positioned to combat cybercrime, a joint approach is required. It has been agreed that these enterprises will show small and medium-sized enterprises – which form the largest group of enterprises in the Netherlands – the right example when it comes to taking urgently needed preventive steps.
The vast sums of money that organised criminal gangs can make by smuggling cocaine and manufacturing synthetic drugs have caused many of them to become ruthless in their dealings. The threat posed by these criminals and the fear of repercussions if the authorities are called in make it difficult for business owners to ask for help. It is therefore important to invest in making businesses and employees more resilient. With the support of the Ministry of Justice and Security, a pilot project operated by the Southern Agricultural and Horticultural Organisation (Zuidelijke Land- en Tuinbouworganisatie, ZLTO) in the regions of South Gelderland, North Brabant and Zealand that involves a confidential adviser for business owners in rural areas will be rolled out to other sectors. The first ones to benefit will be the leisure, water sports, and civil engineering[A1] sectors.
Local and regional crime (including property crime)
Shoplifting, robbery and mobile banditry have a serious effect on business owners. That is why it has been designated a priority in the action programme. To reinforce this message, Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius announced earlier this year that a sum of 10 million euros will be invested in the 10 Safe Enterprise Platforms (Platforms Veilig Ondernemen, PVOs) for the regions. The objective of these platforms is to create greater insight into local and regional crime. This should lead to safer shopping areas, business parks, inner cities and rural areas, as well as measures against theft, aggression, robbery and youth crime. The PVOs are an easily accessible forum for all public and private parties involved to meet and launch joint initiatives.