The approach against violence against employees is well underway

The police give high priority to the investigation of aggression and violence against employees with a public duty. Furthermore, employers in the public sector are protecting their people better against aggressive clients. This is evident from investigations performed by the Public Order and Safety Inspectorate (OOV Inspectorate) and the Labour Inspectorate. The reports were sent to the Lower House by Minister Donner of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice and State Secretary De Krom of Social Affairs and Employment.

Agreements were implemented in April 2010 to ensure a uniform, effective and fast approach to and settlement of aggression and violence against employees with a public duty by the police and the Public Prosecution Service, the Uniform National Agreements (ELA). The Cabinet considers a forceful approach against aggression and violence against employees with a public duty important and consequently a rapid and proper implementation of these agreements as well. In this connection, the OOV Inspectorate initiated an investigation shortly after the introduction of the agreements. The OOV Inspectorate observes that after more than six months have passed all police forces are well underway with the introduction of these agreements. A large number of the agreements are observed. The OOV Inspectorate does note that the actual implementation of the agreements still differs strongly. Not all agreements have penetrated all levels of the police forces. The Inspectorate furthermore concludes that a majority of police forces collaborates with public sector employers to prevent aggression and violence against their employees.

In their response to the report, the Ministers of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and of Security and Justice have indicated their satisfaction with the findings of the investigation. The agreements that are not yet observed by the police, or not yet sufficiently, have the special attention of both Ministers and will be prioritised within the police in the coming years. In addition, four important processes were started at the police at the time of the Inspectorate's investigation to reinforce the implementation of the ELA.

The Ministers indicate in the programme entitled Safe Public Duties 2011-2015, concerning the approach to aggression and violence against employees with a public duty that will shortly be sent to the Lower House, how they will support and encourage the introduction. The efforts and results of the introduction of the agreements by the police and the Public Prosecution Service will be evaluated again in 2012.

The findings of the OOV Inspectorate's investigation are in line with the interim results of the programme entitled 'Aggression and violence against employees in public positions' performed by the Labour Inspectorate. The Labour Inspectorate performed inspections of the protection of personnel against aggression and violence in a number of sectors with public duties in 2010. The Labour Inspectorate also provided information to employers about their obligations.

A great deal of progress has been achieved, in particular in public transport when compared with 2006. The care industry, the municipal social services and the Employees Insurance Agency (UWV) have made significant progress. The fire brigades also have attention for the problem of the aggressive approach to their employees. A number of brigades, however, do have to chart and deal with the risks.

According to the Labour Inspectorate, employers still have to do more as regards reporting, registering and evaluating incidents. Furthermore, measures must also actually be implemented on the shopfloor.

The Labour Inspectorate makes employers aware of their obligations via the website www.weethoehetzit.nl. A digital step-by-step plan has also been drawn up that employers can use to see at a glance whether their employees are properly protected: www.zelfinspectie.nl. The Labour Inspectorate furthermore promotes employee participation in the public sector to get involved in the fight against aggression and violence against employees.