Amsterdam coffeeshops that take security measures won't be closed after shootings: Mayor

Car involved in Amsterdam coffeeshop drive-by shooting on Gerard Doustraat (Photo: Politie)Car involved in Amsterdam coffeeshop drive-by shooting on Gerard Doustraat (Photo: Politie)

Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan decided to stop the policy of closing coffeeshops immediately after a shooting at the business. But only if the coffeeshop owner agrees to take measures to prevent such incidents and to cooperate fully with the police should it be necessary, the municipality of Amsterdam announced in a press statement.

The owners of all 174 coffeeshops in the city will receive a statement stating that these measures will be taken within the next few days. They will be asked to sign the statement. If they don't, the current policy of immediate and indefinite closure will remain in force. 

The statement says, among other things, that cameras will be installed and that the owner will close the business for one week after a shooting. This is to restore public order and to await the initial results of the police investigation. It also says that the coffeeshop owners will cooperate fully in an investigation and share all relevant information with the police. 

The Mayor can still order a coffeeshop closed if circumstances demand it or if it appears that the owner did not comply to all requirements in the statement. Coffeeshop owners are required to cooperate with the police whether or not they sign the statement.

The current policy of immediatly closing a coffeeshop after a shooting has to do with restore peace in the area and protecting residents, passers-by, residents and employees. The closure is lifted once the mayor is confident that public closure is restored and the business does not pose a risk for the neighborhood. According to the municipality, in practice this means that coffeeshops are closed for at least three months. 

Since October last years there has been 10 shootings at coffeeshops and one restaurant in the city. No one was injured. Earlier this week the police arrested the first suspect in connection with one of the shootings.