40 million euros for regional approach to organised crime

The fight against organised crime in the region is being reinforced by 40 million euros each year. Each region in the Netherlands has its own unique characteristics, and this also requires a specific approach to crime. According to Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, Minister of Justice and Security, this system must be developed still further. For example, in regions with a high level of logistical activity – from seaports and airports to marinas – the fight against international drug smuggling is being stepped up, we are taking action in the border area with neighbouring countries to prevent criminals from disappearing there, and in rural areas the resilience of farmers to the criminal use of their barns for the production of drugs is being increased.

'Criminals take advantage of their situation. They will settle in our residential areas, businesses and outlying areas to carry out their illegal practices if we are not careful. In the region, we tackle crime at the source and break through the structures before complete criminal networks have the chance to arise. We are not only dismantling drug labs in the countryside, we also want to stop the supply of raw materials and the export of pills via our ports, cut off criminal financial flows and prevent young people from being recruited into a criminal career by drug dealers.' 

says Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius.

The fight against serious crime is all about prevention, breaking through criminal networks and revenue models, punishment and protection. In order to prevent organised crime from undermining our safe society, a national, regional and local approach is needed with municipalities, the police and the Public Prosecution Service, as well as with entrepreneurs and local residents. A great deal of money is therefore being allocated to expanding the approach on all fronts and reducing organised (drug-related) crime. In the coalition agreement, this government will allocate more money each year for this purpose, increasing to a structural 100 million euros from 2025 onwards. This money is in addition to the annual 434 million euros that was structurally released by the previous government on Budget Day 2021. 

Regional Information and Expertise Centres

The 40 million euros for strengthening the regional approach comes from the Budget Day funds. Of this, an extra 10 million euros will be invested in the organisations of the 10 Regional Information and Expertise Centres (RIECs) and the National Information and Expertise Centre (LIEC). In the RIECs, all the partners involved in a region cooperate in the fight against crime. These include municipalities, provinces, the police, the Public Prosecution Service, the Tax and Customs Administration, the FIOD, the Labour Inspectorate and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. By collaborating and sharing expertise, these parties are increasingly aware of what is happening at the local and regional level with regard to organised crime and its undermining effects.

In addition, 30 million euros will be invested to strengthen cooperation, knowledge sharing and implementation in the region. Every year, an additional sum of between 2.5 and 3 million euros will be made available for each RIEC to strengthen the approach in their region. Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius has asked the RIECs to submit proposals for this. The partners within the RIECs are in the best position to jointly determine what is needed in terms of capacity, the use of new techniques and other instruments in their area. Is there a need for more administrative interventions, efforts by the police and the Public Prosecution Service in the field of criminal law and/or in the fiscal and supervision arena by the Tax and Customs Administration, for example? The RIECs are expected to complete their reinforcement plans by the autumn.