Privacy rules should not protect criminals: Rotterdam mayor

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb (Picture: Twitter/@_sjgbb)Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb (Picture: Twitter/@_sjgbb)

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wants the Netherlands' privacy rules to be adjusted so that they no longer protect criminals, the mayor said in a letter to Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus. 

Rotterdam is struggling to curtail drug trafficking through the city's port, the largest port in Europe. So far this year authorities already seized over 23 thousand kilograms of cocaine at the port of Rotterdam. The mayor is looking for measures to combat drug trafficking.

One of the measures he suggested to Grapperhaus is removing "regulatory barriers", such as privacy laws that protect criminals. For example, Aboutaleb wants investigation services to be able to look behind the curtain of a truck driving around the port area - something that is currently not allowed as the curtain hides the private space of the driver.

Aboutaleb also wants it to be easier to share more information. "Now I am not allowed to inform the mayor of Groningen about a person involved in undermining who has left for Groningen and that is of course bizarre", the mayor previously said. 

Rotterdam also needs significantly more capacity at various investigative services to detect drug shipments and the traffickers behind them, and to seize assets from criminals, Aboutaleb said. 

Police capacity in the city is currently under considerable pressure, he wrote to the city council. Recent developments, such as extra security measures taken after the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum, have drawn many cops away from Rotterdam. He therefore has to redistribute the currently available manpower, and that will mean 20 percent fewer police officers in football matches, among other things, he said.