The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium strengthen joint approach to outlaw motorcycle gangs
The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium will be working more closely together on tackling cross-border problems caused by outlaw motorcycle gangs. The approach taken to these outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) is also being strengthened in a Benelux context.
This is the essence of the agreement made in Luxembourg today between Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice and the Germany State Secretary for the Interior Günter Krings and the Belgium Minister of the Interior Jan Jambon.
The approach to cross-border problems caused by outlaw motorcycle gangs calls for both criminal and administrative measures. The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium have therefore agreed to establish by the end of this year how administrative information about outlaw motorcycle gangs can be mutually shared more effectively within the scope of current laws and regulations in the countries concerned.
The ministers have also made agreements on the exchange of experiences in countering outlaw motorcycle gangs and the investigation and prosecution of these gangs as criminal organisations.
Minister Van der Steur and his Belgian counterpart Jan Jambon announced that, together with Luxembourg, they are planning to adapt the existing police cooperation convention in a way that makes it easier for the local authorities in the border regions to exchange administrative information about criminal gangs.
In the Netherlands, the State, the municipal authorities, the police, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and the Tax and Customs Administration take concerted action against outlaw motorcycle gangs. The number of criminal investigations into outlaw motorcycle gangs has increased to approximately 160 (reference date: June 2015). The integral national progress report on OMGs that Van der Steur submitted earlier this year to the Dutch House of Representatives also showed that twice as many clubhouses of motorcycle gangs were closed down or averted last year. The integral approach means that the net is closing 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 integral programme-based approach to motorcycle gangs in 2012, of the 160 ongoing and completed criminal investigations 29 have now been concluded with an out-of-court settlement offered by the PPS and 215 suspects have been prosecuted. Half of these suspects (108) have been convicted. 88 of these were given prison sentences. 35 criminal cases were settled with a community punishment order and 8 with fines up to 1500 euros.