No community service order for violence against police officers and emergency services

In future, community service orders will no longer be given for violence against individuals carrying out public duties. This means that anyone committing violence against police officers and emergency services workers, such as ambulance and fire services staff, will receive a heavier sentence.

This is indicated in a legislative proposal by Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker and Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus that was submitted for consultation today. The measure is an extension of the existing prohibition of community service orders, which is mainly related to serious violent and sexual offences.

Violence against police officers and emergency services is unacceptable. They maintain order, operate in dangerous circumstances and provide assistance to people in emergency situations. They often help individuals who are in acute, life-threatening situations. Such violence must be dealt with convincingly, and a community service order is unsuitable.

Police officers and emergency services personnel regularly experience violence in the execution of their duties. They do not have the option of getting out of harm's way, as their work requires them to take action. Violence against individuals fulfilling public duties requires a suitable response. Therefore, instead of imposing a community service order or such an order in combination with an unconditional prison sentence, an unconditional prison sentence will always be imposed.

This measure taken by the ministers is in line with the current criminal law policy to mete out swift and severe punishment to those committing violence against employees fulfilling public duties. Tracking down and prosecuting such suspects is given priority. Any perpetrators can also be put in preliminary detention, allowing accelerated and super-expedited proceedings. The Public Prosecution Service will be requesting sentences that are three times higher than for other violent offences.