Integral Approach to Copper Theft

Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice today launched Actie Koperslag. Ten agreements have been made with the police, the Public Prosecution Service, ProRail and the metal industry, in order to deal more severely with copper theft. The strong rise in the price of copper has also caused the theft of copper to rise strongly. Copper theft causes a great deal of direct and indirect damage to railroad tracks and to the art and electricity sector.

The covenant that was concluded today at the police station of the railway police at Holland Spoor station contains ten agreements in the field of prevention, investigation and prosecution of copper thieves. By implementing measures for both the sellers and the buyers of stolen copper, the Judiciary, the police, ProRail and the metal industry intend to make stealing copper less attractive.


The prevention of copper theft is first and foremost the responsibility of companies. For example, ProRail is placing fences in many locations, copper cables are secured with theft prevention clamps and high-risk locations are under camera surveillance. Additional security guards are also deployed for maintaining supervision.


In order to catch as many copper thieves as possible in the act, the KLPD will deploy flexible teams in a targeted manner and the Aviation Police will provide information-based support using helicopters. In addition, the police, the Judiciary and the metal-processing industry will participate in a ProRail pilot involving synthetic DNA. Synthetic DNA makes it possible to establish the origins of the copper also after it has been melted down. Tracking & tracing by means of GPS equipment will be used in sectors other than the railroads.


During their prosecution, copper thieves will no longer just be charged with theft, but aggravating factors will also be taken into account if the theft of copper led to a great deal of indirect damage or danger. A guideline of the Public Prosecution Service will be adjusted for this purpose.

Registration and identification

In order to discourage the sale of stolen copper, there will be a registration and identification obligation during the cash purchase of copper at all locations where copper is purchased and this obligation will be enforced in a consistent manner. Purchasers of copper can already be obliged to maintain a purchase register. A digital register will be set up for better compliance with and enforcement of the registration obligation that can be linked to police files of stolen property.