New support team to help threatened politicians; nearly a third face threats

The Ministry of Home Affairs is establishing a new support team to assist and advise local politicians faced with threats. A new survey among political officials in municipalities, provinces and water boards revealed that 29 percent of them were targeted with aggression or violence last year, compared to 27 percent in 2016, RTL Nieuws reports.

The threatened politicians often don't report the incidents, because they don't consider it important enough or find it part of their jobs. While the number of threatened politicians increased, they are less influenced by it, according to the survey. Only 15 percent said that such incidents can influence their decision making, compared to 24 percent in 2016. The Ministry is now taking extra measures to support these politicians. 

In addition to the support team, which will be composed of former politicians and external experts, the Ministry will pay extra attention to information and training. Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs wants to increase the awareness of threatening situations among politicians, and have them practice to deal with different situations. She also wants to offer new mayors risk analyzes, so that they can map out their own safety and that of those around them.

The Minister hopes that these measures will ensure that all incidents of politicians facing threats are reported to the police. "I find every form of threat or unwanted influence unacceptable", she said.

On Sunday Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb revealed that he has been under extra security for a week and a half due to a serious death threat.