Minister Van der Steur launches virtual training for catering and retail staff

On 8 October Minister Van der Steur will kick off ‘Public Safety Week’ by launching a new type of course against robbery for catering and retail personnel. True-to-life situations will be created using Virtual Reality software. Catering personnel and shop assistants will be taught, wearing Virtual Reality glasses, the best way to deal with a whole range of crimes. The Centre for Crime Prevention and Public Safety (CCV) in cooperation with the Dutch Trade Association for the Hotel and Catering Industry (Koninklijke Horeca Nederland) and the Dutch Retail Trade Association (Detailhandel Nederland) has developed several 360° videos for this purpose, many of which deal with robbery or shoplifting. The theme of Public Safety Week 2016 is “Are you prepared for crime?”. The Public Safety Week runs from 10 to 16 October.

Measures lead to nearly 60% decline in robberies

Since 2009 the number of robberies in the Netherlands has declined by almost 60%. This is the result of cooperation between the business community, judicial system and municipal authorities. A recent survey carried out by Business Security Warranty (KVO) shows that 88% of shopkeepers and entrepreneurs take preventive measures against robbery. Entrepreneurs who have been confronted by a hold-up or a robbery in the past take an average of six measures. People who have never experienced a robbery in person take fewer measures (five on average). Most preventive measures relate to securing the money flow, by removing surplus cash for example (62%). In many cases personnel are also instructed on the best course of action to be taken (49%).
“The joint approach against these forms of crime remains very important”, says Minister Van der Steur. “For that reason we call on entrepreneurs to prepare their staff well for such things as robberies and shoplifting during the Public Safety Week. The better they are prepared for crime, the better they will be able to deal with it.”

Robbery Taskforce extended

Due to the success of the private-public approach Minister Van der Steur has decided to extend the Robbery Taskforce under the chairmanship of Mayor Aboutaleb (Rotterdam) until 31 December 2018. “I am proud of the results achieved by the Taskforce. You see that public-private cooperation works, especially when the government and the business community are pursuing the same goal and putting their shoulders to the wheel”, according to Minister Van der Steur. Close cooperation with the Gold and Silver Federation and the CCV has led to a spectacular reduction in the number of jewellery shop robberies, from 86 in 2011 to just 11 in 2015. Such cooperation has also been successful in other areas such as tackling robberies at petrol stations (128 robberies in 2011 compared to 63 in 2015) and snack bars (155 robberies in 2011 compared to 74 in 2015).

Public Safety Week 2016

Municipalities, police, trade associations and Regional Crime Control Platforms have organised numerous activities in the Public Safety Week to encourage entrepreneurs to take preventive measures, thereby helping to combat crime.
Those activities include:

  • Public Safety Week Kick-Off with the launch of Virtual Reality training

Saturday 8 October 11:00 - 13:00, Escape, Rembrandtplein Amsterdam

Minister Van der Steur and entrepreneurs with businesses on the Rembrandtplein will launch a Virtual Reality (VR) course, on location, for catering personnel and shop assistants. Using VR glasses to experience true-to-life virtual situations, catering personnel and shop assistants will be shown the best way to deal with robberies and shop lifting.

  • Business Breakfast personnel and safety

Monday 10 October 07:00 - 08:45, Van Nelle factory Rotterdam
Mayor Aboutaleb, Minister Van der Steur and about 200 business persons will come to the table for the Business Breakfast in the Van Nelle factory. Here the Minister (among others) will award the Safety First (Wel-Zo-Veilig) Awards to entrepreneurs who have set a good example with regard to crime prevention. The awards are given in three categories: the retail trade, hotels and catering, transport and logistics. To reduce digital crime among SMBs, a starter package on cyber prevention will also be introduced.

  •  ‘Robberies in the Netherlands’ Convention

Wednesday 12 October 09:30 - 14:30, SS Rotterdam
The number of robberies has declined by almost 60% since 2006. On average however there are still three robberies a day in the Netherlands. Minister Van der Steur will give a speech during the Convention. Ben Rovers, criminologist and founder of the Bureau voor Toegepast Veiligheidsonderzoek (Agency for Applied Security Research) and criminologist Cyrille Fijnaut will present the results of a study of robberies in the Netherlands. The approach, results and future plans of the National Robbery Taskforce will also be discussed, and about 275 participants will have an opportunity to take part in workshops like ‘Pak een plofkraak aan’ (How to tackle an ATM gas attack).