Police point to increasing reports of serious threats to politicians
The police are seeing more and more reports of serious threats against MPs and government officials. The Threatened Politicians Team (TBP) received more than a thousand reports of incitement and threats in the first nine months of this year, compared to 588 in all of 2021.
"Since the coronavirus year 2020, the number of threats has increased sharply," said Ruud Gründmann, TBP team leader at the police. "Not only online, but also physically. The seriousness and intensity of the incidents have also changed. Politicians and government officials are increasingly being harassed and booed. That does not always lead to a report, but it is characteristic of this time." The police see an increase in social unrest, along with increasing reports and more willingness to report, as the main causes of the increase.
In 2020, there were a total of 600 reports. In the pre-coronavirus year 2019, there were 393 notifications. The year 2018 was also an outlier with 620 reports. At that time, the increase was mainly due to increased reports from one politician, Geert Wilders, largely about threats from outside the EU.
Today, the police see the threats coming from all sides. "Many threats are convicted and we also see that the level of the penalties imposed is substantial. As a signal to society that you cannot get away with it," Gründmann said. "Ultimately, it's about safeguarding democracy and protecting people who stand for this democracy."
The TBP focuses on criminal threats against people in the "national domain." These are, for example, ministers, members of the Eerste and Tweede Kamer, ambassadors and members of the Royal House.
Reporting by ANP