Roughly 8,000 fugitives dodging prison sentences in the Netherlands
Almost 8,000 convicted criminals are currently evading prison in the Netherlands. About 90 percent of these fugitives are abroad, and beyond the Dutch authorities’ reach, De Gelderlander reports based on figures provided by the Ministry of Justice and Security. Among them are 606 perpetrators of serious violent crime.
In 2017, the police and judiciary tightened their protocols for tracking convicts. They managed to decrease the number of fugitives with outstanding Dutch prison sentences from 11,000 in 2017 to now’s 7,853.
Peter Homminga of the Rotterdam police, leader of the Unfindable Convicts project, calls it a great success. “At the time, there was a strange image that, as a criminal, you could walk free in the Netherlands with a prison sentence over your head. You didn’t have to serve it. That is not true,” he said to the newspaper.
The Unfindable Convicts project ended in 2021, but it led to a fixed working method for the police and judiciary. And the search for these convicts continues unabated. Though Homminga doesn’t expect the number of fugitives to drop much lower.
Most of the current fugitives are hiding in countries with which the Netherlands has no or minimal cooperation, he explained. So their arrest and extradition are unlikely. But “that does not mean that some of them might not be caught later,” Homminga said. “These files are reviewed regularly. Sometimes people turn up in the Netherlands again.”