Measure against lack of safety in public areas

In future, the courts can impose an exclusion order, obligation to report or an order prohibiting contact on offenders for a period of at most two years in the event of nuisance, aggression, violence and criminal acts. The freedom-restricting measure may be imposed instead of or in addition to a fine, community order or imprisonment, and can become effective immediately after the decision. This is apparent from a legislative proposal from Minister of Security and Justice Opstelten that was submitted to the Lower House today.

A swift, decisive response to criminal offences forms part of the Cabinet policy to make streets, neighbourhoods and public areas safer. An offender that does not comply with the measure will, as yet, wind up in jail. For each violation, he will receive imprisonment for noncompliance with an alternative sentence.

The court will convict the defendant of the criminal offences. Circumstances may give reason for a freedom-restricting measure. This can also be the case in the case of acts of violence. But it can also be the case with respect to relatively minor offences which - depending on the circumstances in which they were committed - violate the legal order. Examples of such offenses are unlawful assembly, objectionable behaviour on the road and near buildings, public use of alcohol or drugs, vandalism and threats. Another example is the situation in which a victim - or witness - of a criminal offence fears seriously aggravating or stress-inducing behaviour inflicted against himself by the suspect, such as the suspect seeking telephone contact, ringing the doorbell or passing by.

The consequence of the freedom-restricting measure is, for example, that a person who causes nuisance is not allowed to come in or near certain buildings, or in a certain part of a neighbourhood, or certain streets at certain times, days or dates. It is also possible that he will not be allowed to have contact with certain persons or institutions. In the case of an obligation to report, a person is obliged to report to the police periodically or at certain times.

Extra efforts are required for a personal approach to known offenders. The national network of Safety Houses is indispensible in this approach. The police plays an important role in the enforcement of the measure imposed. In addition to the supervision by investigative officers, the identification of and reporting on known offenders by owners and managers of local establishments, by local residents and by those directly involved can strengthen the supervision of compliance. Violations - of for example an order prohibiting contact - can also be recorded with new resources (number registration and mobile phones with a camera, and the like).