Justice Min. announces "offensive" against minors carrying knives after municipalities call for nationwide ban

Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security is stepping up the fight against children and teenagers carrying knives and other stabbing weapons, he said in an interview with the Telegraaf. On Monday the mayors of Nissewaard and Ridderkerk called for a nationwide ban on minors carrying these weapons. And mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam announced that he will fine the parents of children caught twice with knives.

The mayors of Nissewaard and Ridderkerk called for a ban on minors carrying knives because both municipalities had to deal with stabbing incidents involving minors over the past months. In Spijkenenisse, which falls under Nissewaard, a 13-year-old boy was arrested last year for stabbing someone at a subway station. "We therefore consider it time to send a signal to national politics," Mayor Foort van Oosten of Nissewaard said to NOS.

Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb decided not to wait for national politics. In the coming weeks the municipality of Rotterdam will impose a "penalty payment" of 2,500 euros on parents if their kids are caught with a knife for the second time, he said to Rijnmond. The mayor has the power to impose such a penalty, which means he can do it without the involvement of national politics 

Aboutaleb told Rijnmond that he is very concerned by the fact that parents aren't surprised that their child carries a knife. "All children nowadays have a knife," the police often hears from parents, the mayor said. He called this attitude "extremely worrying." 

Grapperhaus told the Telegraaf that he is stepping up the fight against armed young people. "Some young people have come up with the idea that you have to carry a weapon," he said. "We have to get rid of that, especially considering the terrible things that have happened in recent times."

But the Minister does not consider a ban on minors carrying knives necessary. According to Grapperhaus, the current resources are sufficient to combat this problem. For example, school lockers can be searched. "I am strongly in favor of searching and preventative searches in schools and the surrounding area," he said to the newspaper. 

There were a large number of stabbing incidents involving teenagers in the Netherlands last year. In December three teenagers were arrested for stabbing a man to death as he withdrew cash from an ATM in Hoofddorp. A teen was arrested for stabbing a 38-year-old man to death in The Hague in August. A 16-year-old boy was taken into custody for stabbing a 15-year-old girl to death in Breda in the same month.  Three minor boys were arrested for stabbing a 15-year-old boy at a school in Rotterdam in June. And a 14-year-old was arrested for stabbing a peer on a playground in Culemborg in April

Both Amsterdam's police chief and public prosecutor raised concerns about armed young people in the city.