Charging on the police costs related to events

Police costs related to incidental, commercial events subject to a licence requirement will be charged on to the organiser. This is evident from a legislative proposal from Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice that was sent today to various agencies for advice, including the police, the municipalities, the Association of Companies in the Event Line and the Royal Netherlands Football Association.

The object of the proposal is to reduce police deployment during events and to give the organisers more responsibility. If they do not, the police costs related to the proper management of events will be charged. Opstelten wants organisers to implement more measures themselves, which will reduce the burden on police capacity.

It concerns duties which are now often carried out using police capacity, but which could also be carried out by security guards or traffic controllers. This will not involve costs related to the investigation of crimes and removing persons under arrest. The same applies to costs related to assistance provided by the police.

An increasing number of (commercial) events are organised in the Netherlands. Based on police data, it is estimated that enforcement at such events cost the police approximately 490,000 man-hours in 2009. The number of large events of more than 5,000 visitors has increased in particular. Whereas the Netherlands still had some 150 festivals at the start of the eighties, this number had increased to approximately 700 in 2007.

Scope of the proposal

The proposal relates exclusively to events of a recreational nature that are attended by an audience which involves amusement or a spectacle. Events are considered commercial if they are organised by an entrepreneur within the meaning of Article 7 of the Turnover Tax Act 1968, or if it concerns activities subject to VAT. It is not required that the organiser of the event has a profit motive. It also concerns a commercial event if there is a food, beverage or souvenir vendor who is liable to pay VAT.

Exceptions

Matches of sports associations that are recognised by NOC*NSF are not covered by the scope of the act. It concerns matches that are held as part of a competition or that recur annually. The entrance of Saint Nicholas, Queen's Day, the celebration of Liberation Day, the Elfstedentocht and benefit concerts are not covered by this act and are exempted from a contribution.

Access to the event grounds

The proposal distinguishes between events on grounds where there are only event visitors and events where visitors mingle with other persons. If an event takes place in a non-public place, for example in a stadium, the organiser will be fully responsible for implementing all necessary measures. In such cases, the costs related to police deployment will be charged in full to the organiser.

At events organised in an accessible place, for example in a park or in a square, event visitors and passersby mix. It would not be reasonable, in the case of such events, for example Sail Amsterdam and the Rotterdam Summer Carnival, for the organiser to bear all costs related to police deployment. Half of these costs will be charged to the organiser, to the extent it concerns costs of activities that can also be carried out by non-police personnel.

The Mayor will continue to decide on the number of police officials that is required to enforce public order and safety at events. This legislative proposal will better enable the Mayor to assess whether the intended event can go ahead in a responsible manner and, if so, what rules he attaches to the permit. It is expected that organisers will implement more measures, which will reduce the burden on police capacity.

The legislative proposal implements the coalition agreement in which this regulation was announced. Minister Opstelten will include the findings of the consultation in the decision-making concerning the legislative proposal, which will be presented to the Council of Ministers after the summer.