Justice Min.: Organized crime in south Netherlands worse than expected

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Motorcycle gang related organized crime in the southern parts of the Netherlands is "more serious and deeply rooted in society" than was expected when the judiciary launched its more intensive approach to tackling it, Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice wrote to parliament. He added that the more intensive approach will therefore be continued, ANP reports.

The intent was to stop the intensive approach - a joint approach by local authorities, police, Public Prosecutor, Tax Authorities and the Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as a branch of the military - this year, but according to the Minister a "long and intensive approach is still needed".

It is intended that the suspects be tried quickly, but that is not always possible. A report on tackling organized crime in the south states that a major problem is the inability to delver files in criminal cases on time. This is mainly due to "structural" delays with the police team that cleans up drug labs and the Netherlands Forensic Institute, according to the authors.

The PvdA is getting impatient and is demanding that Van der Steur be quicker about starting a lawsuit to ban outlaw motorcycle gangs. "We've been hearing for a long time that the minister is busy with this, but the years are now behind us", PvdA MP Jeroen Recourt said in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of parliament, according to the Gelderlander. "Try it with existing legislation. If it is insufficient, we can see how to change it."

The Public Prosecutor is currently to try and ban motorcycle gangs for disrupting public order. But Van der Steur warns that a ban will not fix everything, referring to Germany where a ban only meant that the clubs now operate underground. "A ban, if it comes, is a step in the right direction, But in Germany we also see that they go underground or emerge again as another foundation.", he said, adding that he is not opposed to the ban - "It is also a signal that we do not accept criminal acts" - but the parliamentarians should know what to expect.

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