The government continues in its joint action tackling criminal motorcycle gangs
Central government, the municipalities, the police, the Public Prosecution Service and the Tax and Customs Administration are acting together as one force against criminal motorcycle gangs. The collaborative partners are determined to continue with their action in tackling criminal motorcycle gangs. The number of criminal investigations relating to criminal motorcycle gangs has practically doubled over the last year. Moreover, twice as many motorcycle gangs' clubhouses were either closed down over the last year or their establishment was averted.
This is shown by the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) overall national progress report, sent today by Minister Van der Steur of Security and Justice to the House of Representatives. According to Van der Steur, the joint action tackling criminal motorcycle gangs is successful, but it remains a matter of long-term patience. Cross-border problems require cross-border solutions. Therefore Van der Steur is looking for a further increase in the collaboration with neighbouring countries.
Outlaw bikers do not fit in with the category of normal motorcycle clubs, which are plentiful in the Netherlands. Recent developments in Limburg show that OMGs are still involved with undermining, intimidation, threatening behaviour and criminal activities. The integral approach means that the net is closing in around the criminal motorcycle clubs: by means of actions under criminal law, the tracking down of assets acquired through crime and administrative interventions. In addition, the Public Prosecution Service has indicated that it will be looking into whether an OMG can be banned under civil law.
Since the start of the programmed approach towards motorcycle gangs, a total of 562 suspects were interviewed during the period from January 2015 to March 2015 in relation to criminal investigations, which has led to 308 criminal cases. In an analysis into both national and international serious and organised crime carried out by OMGs and their members, the Public Prosecution Service counted 150 ongoing and completed criminal investigations. That represents almost twice as many compared with last year. The number then amounted to 88 criminal investigations.
Besides actions carried out by the police and the Public Prosecution Service, the administrative areas of government are also taking a tougher approach towards OMGs. Since 2012, 177 clubhouses or attempts to establish a base have been detected. 113 of these were addressed at an administrative level, based on infringement of the Licensing and Catering Act, for example, or a conflict with an allocation plan. Up till now, 87 of the 177 clubhouses have been closed or attempts to establish them have been diverted. That is twice as many in comparison with the 43 clubhouses a year ago.
When searching out clubhouses, the local administration and the police are finding that motorcycle clubs are also attempting to take over cafés by using intimidation or other forms of pressure. In relation to this, more than 70 cafés and 3 entertainment areas came to light nationally, in comparison with 39 last year. A few catering establishments were closed down or have not yet opened because the licence was rejected by the municipality. In a number of cases, for example, an audit is being carried out by the Tax and Customs Administration.
Furthermore, in collaboration with the Public Prosecution Service and the police, the Tax and Customs Administration has become more adept in taking action against members of motorcycle clubs who have no visible means of income, yet who have plenty of money, as well as the integral seizure of assets acquired by criminal means. Up to the end of 2014 there were 54 investigations into cash-rich people with no visible means of income who thought that they could do whatever they liked with their black money. A year ago, there were only 37 such investigations.