MPs call gov't to step up the fight against organized crime in Amsterdam

A report stating that Amsterdam is losing the fight against organized crime led to alarmed and shocked reactions from politicians in The Hague. Parliamentarians call on the government to invest more into combating this issue, the Telegraaf reports.

The report stated that the authorities have little insight into drug economy and -crime, that the police have basically given up the fight against drugs, and that the judiciary is failing to tackle real crime structures.

The "looking away in Amsterdam should stop", CDA parliamentarian Madeleine van Toorenburg said to the newspaper. "Start by facing it." She also thinks that drug use in the Dutch capital is getting out of hand. "The normalization of Amsterdam's use, which put it on the international map, must be stopped. In addition, all partners will have to join forces to discourage and enforce."

PvdA parliamentarian Attje Kuiken wants the fight against organized crime in the capital to be taken "much more seriously". The labor party requested a debate on this matter and calls for more money to be invested into this fight. "This report is really alarming", she said. "This is not about cuddly criminals, but about tough drug bosses who are in charge of the street. More and more often innocent victims fall in their drug wars. You simply want to be sure that the police is in charge of the street." The government must invest in knowledge, more police officers, stricter enforcement, and better sharing of information, according to Kuiken. 

According to SP parliamentarian Michiel van Nispen, ruling party VVD has been neglecting the fight against crime for years. "Substantial budget cuts in the police, financial investigations and customs now ensure that this misery cannot be adequately addressed." There is a lack of good cooperation, he said. "Also with the Tax Authority. Taking away crime money is a face." And the problems aren't limited to Amsterdam, Van Nispen stressed. "But also in Brabant and other parts of the country. The Minister has to get on this. So far, the government has not shown that it is serious about the fight against crime."

The PVV believes that "a war must be declared" on organized crime, parliamentarian Gidi Markuszower said to the newspaper. "And that war must be won", the PVV MP said. According to him, that will not happen as long as Ferdinand Grapperhaus and Sander Dekker are in charge at the Ministry of Justice and Security. "[Prime Minister Mark Rutte] has put two little duds there. They are dozens of times too small and as long as they sit there, the serious criminals of the Netherlands are laughing."