Full mobile controls by Border Police reinstated

As of 1 June 2011, the Royal Military and Border Police will be reinstating full mobile controls behind the borders with Belgium and Germany.

They will again be able to detain illegal aliens, where necessary. Mobile controls are important weapons in tackling illegal migration and transborder crime such as people smuggling, human trafficking, identity and document fraud, drug smuggling and money laundering. They now have a solid legal basis, thanks to an amendment to the Aliens Decree.

Mobile controls in trains

Because the controls are random, they are not strictly border controls, which are no longer permitted within the Schengen area.

Late last year, the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State decided that the mobile controls carried out by the Royal Military and Border Police in the areas bordering on Germany and Belgium bore too close a resemblance to border controls. The legal basis for these controls was also fairly tenuous. By amending the Aliens Decree, Minister for Immigration and Asylum Policy Gerd Leers has remedied this situation.

Mobile controls must be based on information or data gleaned from experience that people are crossing the border with the aim of residing illegally in the Netherlands. To ensure that the controls are truly random, trains, cars, ships and aircraft may not be subjected to systematic checks. The controls in the areas behind the German and Belgian borders and at the airports were already carried out on a random basis. Now the rules governing them are set out in the Aliens Decree.

The rules are as follows.

International trains: controls may be carried out in international trains up to 30 minutes from the border (or to the second station in the Netherlands) in no more than two trains on each line, and eight trains a day; in each train, controls may be carried out in no more than two carriages.

Cars/trucks/ships: controls may be carried out up to 20 km from the border with Belgium or Germany, for no more than 90 hours a month on each route, and no more than six hours a day; not all passing cars, trucks or vessels may be stopped.

Planes: controls may be carried out on no more than one third of the flights scheduled on each route within the Schengen area in any given month, to a maximum of seven flights a week; not all of the passengers on these flights may be checked.