Thousands of Rotterdam port workers to be screened for links to drug crime
Companies in the port of Rotterdam will team up with intelligence service AIVD to screen thousands of employees and drivers for criminal offenses linked to drug crime. It involves employees in positions interesting for drug traffickers, like planners at terminals and truck drivers, Trouw reports.
Some port companies already use a standard certificate of good conduct to screen employees. In the new screening, the screening authority, Justis, will look specifically for cases relevant to drugs and drug smuggling. Employees will have to reapply for this special certificate of good conduct periodically. This form of screening by the AIVD is also used for Schiphol employees.
Employees with drug-linked offenses on their records will be denied access to the port area. The first group of employees will be screened this year. “The pilot has just started in Rotterdam, and it is expected that tens of thousands of employees will be eligible for this [screening],” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security said to the newspaper.
The port of Rotterdam is one of Europe’s main entry points in global cocaine trafficking. Criminals threaten, coerce, or bribe employees and truck drivers with access passes to enter the port area or move containers. Young men are often also sent into the port to retrieve drugs from containers. In the first two months of this year, the police arrested over 80 such retrievers in and around the port area.
The Rotterdam authorities are stepping up the fight against drug trafficking, and screening employees is part of that. The Netherlands and Belgium recently also announced that they would work with shipping companies to tackle the drug trade through their ports.