Police impressed by Dutch sticking to coronavirus rules, prepared to enforce lock down

Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)

The National Police are impressed by how people in the Netherlands are generally following the rules and measures implemented due to the coronavirus outbreak. "Incidents can be counted on one hand. We can really appeal to people's common sense," Max Daniel, one of the four national police commanders coordinating police operations for the Covid-19 outbreak, said to Nieuwsuur.

Should things escalate and the government decide to implement a complete lockdown, the police are prepared, Daniel said. "We enforce emergency ordinances and we are preparing for that." A complete lockdown is not on the cards as of yet. On Wednesday, a majority in parliament supported the government's approach of social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. 

In this situation the police don't have to explain to people that there is a common enemy, Daniel said. "It only gets complicated if people don't understand. Now people understand the measures, that helps. If people don't understand the measures anymore, it becomes difficult and complicated. But we remain strong in all situations."

The police are working off a special set of guidelines in the event of a pandemic. "That script was already in place, and we have now adjusted it." That means that fewer people are being arrested - only suspects of serious crimes and people caught red handed. The police postpone less serious cases. "We still pick people up, for example for drunkenness and theft. But in good consultation with the Public Prosecution Service, we postpone what we can postpone. The chain is less open because courts are less usable," Daniel said. 

There are also people trying to take advantage of the crisis, the police warned on Wednesday. "Chat scams, for example, to steal PINs," Daniel said to the program. The police warned to be careful of phishing emails or messages aimed at stealing your personal details.