Netherlands becoming a narco-state, warn Dutch police
Officers say many victims do not report incidents and organised gangs have a free rein
Daniel Boffey in Brussels Wed 21 Feb 2018
The Netherlands is starting to resemble a narco-state with the police unable to combat the emergence of a parallel criminal economy, a report from the Dutch police association has warned.
“Only one in nine criminal groups can be tackled with the current people and resources,” the report given to the De Telegraaf newspaper says. “Detectives see that small criminals develop into wealthy entrepreneurs who establish themselves in the hospitality industry, housing market, middle class, travel agencies.”
Critics of the Dutch gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy) towards the sale of cannabis in coffee shops, and the legal status of prostitution in the country, claim the Netherlands has been inadvertently promoted as a major hub for the trafficking of drugs and people.
A large majority of ecstasy taken in Europe and the US comes from labs in the south of the country, which are increasingly run by Moroccan gangs involved in the production of cannabis. Half of the €5.7bn a year of cocaine taken in Europecomes through the port of Rotterdam, according to Europol.
While there has been a 25% drop in the number of recorded crimes over the past nine years, to below 1m, the paper reported that 3.5m crimes go unregistered every year. The report also raised fears that the authorities were being put at “an insurmountable disadvantage”.
Amsterdam’s police chief, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, claimed his force was spending 60% to 70% of its time attempting to combat gang-related hit-jobs.