Cocaine and drugs trade at smaller harbors in Urk and IJmuiden
Dutch cutter fishery is vulnerable to criminal networks, according to a report commissioned by the Police and Science research program. Drug smugglers actively approach fishers in economic difficulties. The vast majority of fishers reject the offers, but the economic downturn in their sector makes them vulnerable to criminal networks. Researchers from the Mehlbaum Research agency came to this conclusion in the study.
Fieldwork in the ports of IJmuiden, Urk, and Den Over, during which the researchers interviewed dozens of fishers and other people from the fishing industry, revealed an idea of how fishers bring drugs ashore. Cocaine is first transported from the production country by container ships and then thrown overboard in the North Sea. Later, the drugs are fished out by fishers or other professionals from the maritime world.
This could involve fishers who are vulnerable to being recruited into maritime drug traffickers or fishers who "characterize as key criminals and who are in contact with the criminal networks that organize the drug trade," the researchers said.
"A good information position" is essential for the police to fight drug smuggling. "However, the police and other governments often experience the fishing industry as a closed community. The services have only limited information about fishing communities. Both the government and the fishing industry have a negative image and mistrust of each other," the researchers said.
The researchers, therefore, recommend that the police and governments should "invest in these relationships" and "build trust."
Police and Science is a research program that carries out scientific research for the benefit of the police. The program has been in existence since 1999 and, in its own words, fulfills "a bridging function between science and the police." One of its goals is that knowledge development contributes to the functioning of the police.
Reporting by ANP.