Too little time for screening asylum seekers for terrorist plots: Inspectorate

Klaas Dijkhoff during a work visit to the Koninklijke Marechaussee's Mobile Surveillance Security on Nov 9th 2015 (Photo: Rijksoverheid)Klaas Dijkhoff during a work visit to the Koninklijke Marechaussee's Mobile Surveillance Security on Nov 9th 2015 (Photo: Rijksoverheid)

While registering and identifying arriving asylum seekers with institutions like the IND, police, and COA goes well, too little time and equipment are available to properly identify and track down asylum seekers with terrorist plans, the Security and Justice Inspectorate says in a a report, NOS reports.

According to the report, arriving asylum seekers are all registered in accordance with the agreements - their names, addresses, ID documents and biometric data are recorded correctly. But if someone arrives without a passport, or with a false passport, the authorities do not have enough time to find out whether that person may be dangerous. 

There is also no time and equipment to properly check the dozens of phones and other data carriers that arrive every day for terrorist- or other criminal activities. "At the quick check they also run up against the restriction that workers can not 'interpret' all found information for example if the data carrier contains Arabic texts", the inspectorate writes. The authorities also do not have the special equipment needed to view deleted photos and files.

If one of the employees really does not trust the situation, an additional investigation can be requested. But there are no set rules for this additional investigation, and identification employees are usually not informed about what came from it. 

Identification staff are often faced with difficult choices, one employee said in the report. "Suppose you have ten people that need further investigation in the identification process, you have to weigh what is most important. you have to set priorities", the employee said. Several employees told the inspectorate that they do their best to find terrorist plots, especially after attacks in Belgium and France, but that "politics" don't always have a realistic view of what is possible. 

According to NOS, the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, is shocked by the report's conclusions. They want a debate with Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice immediately after the Christmas holidays. 


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