Offender-based approach violent offenders to receive nation-wide follow-up
The Offender-based Approach to Violent Offenders (DAG) will receive nation-wide follow-up. This was announced today in Almere by Minister for Justice Hirsch Ballin. This approach will help prevent violence by closely monitoring violent offenders. After a pilot in Almere, Gouda and Tilburg, this approach will also be introduced in other municipalities next year.
Violence constitutes a serious violation of the safe environment in society, and causes great social unrest. For this reason, the 'Approach to Violence' government programme was established. Partly due to this programme, the number of violent crimes was 19 percent lower in 2009 than it was in 2006. The offender-based approach should help reduce the number of violent crimes even further.
The aim of the offender-based approach is to quickly identify violent offenders, to punish them effectively and to monitor them closely thereafter. An important first step is to have victims of violence file a report with the police. The municipalities that participate in the pilot investigate the places in their municipality in which few reports are made to the police, with respect to, for example, violence at schools or in the catering industry. If victims or witnesses do file a report, the police will be able to identify juveniles who display undesirable behaviour at an early stage.
The Safety Houses subsequently play an important role in the personal approach to the offender. In cooperation with the other parties to the Safety House, such as the Public Prosecution Service and the Youth Care Agency, all data that is known with regard to the offender is reviewed. This will allow the courts to impose person-based conditional punishments with special conditions, such as behavioural training, treatment in a care institution, or a street injunction.
The municipalities are also able, by means of the offender-based approach, to apply a new method to investigate (potential) violent offenders. A great deal of information on violent offenders who cause nuisance in a neighbourhood or district is already known in the digital police systems or is simply 'stored' in the head of the community police officer. By using a 'Crime and Nuisance Violent Offenders' area scan to put an entire district ‘under the microscope’, an accurate picture can be created of the violent offenders in that district. The result of the scan is a 'regular clients list' containing all juvenile and adult violent offenders who have to be monitored closely by means of the Safety House and who will be immediately and severely dealt with in the event of a violation.
The experiences gained in the pilot municipalities Almere, Gouda and Tilburg are so positive that Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin today issued the DAG manual at the Offender-based Approach to Violent Offenders conference in Almere. In 2010, five other municipalities will assess, on the basis of this manual, whether the DAG method is successful for them as well. Two out of five of these municipalities are already known: Utrecht and Lelystad. If the approach proves successful in these five municipalities as well, the DAG method can be introduced nationally.