Quarter of Dutch mayors threatened by criminals

Nearly a quarter of Dutch mayors have been threatened by criminals, according to a survey of 4 thousand mayors, aldermen and officials by Pro Facto on behalf of the Ministry of Security and Justice. The researchers add that there is no sign of large-scale criminal influence on local governments, NOS reports.

The researchers emphasized that criminals attempting to influence decisions in local governments, does not automatically mean that they succeeded. Only 1 percent of respondents said that criminal threats had an "undermining effect". And 8 percent talked about the effects of "criminal infiltration". Most of the threats involved anonymous statements, according to the study. The researchers did not find a single case in which a threat turned into physical violence. 

According to Pro Facto, it is impossible to determine the impact of criminals threatening mayors on national security based on this study. However, this is definitely a national problem, the researchers conclude. Criminals tried to exert influence in all provinces, both in small and large municipalities. 

Minister Stef Blok of Security and Justice and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations are therefore organizing meetings with mayors, commissioners of the king and scientists. The aim of these meetings is to better identify the problems and make local governments more resilient to crime, according to NOS.