Zero tolerance on New Year’s Eve

Youths caught setting fires, destroying property and fighting with police at this year’s New Year celebrations will face fast-track justice, newspapers report on Friday.

Every year in the Netherlands, hundreds of troublemakers are arrested during the festivities. Cars are set on fire and millions of euros worth of damage is caused to property as youths go on the rampage.
This year the four main cities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht will crack down hard on offenders and justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has introduced super fast-track justice which will see troublemakers up before a magistrate on January 2.
Local authority officials have also agreed to work closely with the police, the justice system and public transport companies to minimise the damage.
Known troublemakers will be visited ahead of the festivities by the police or will receive a warning letter. On the night itself, extra police and private security guards will be on the ground.
In known trouble spots rubbish bins, containers and building material will be cleared away. Soft drink and sweet dispensers will be nailed shut, as will the entrances to parking garages and metro stations.
The super fast-track justice means troublemakers will be arrested and put in jail until January 2 when the courts reopen. Extra court time has already been booked. In Utrecht, the move has been dubbed ‘the weekend arrangement’.
Liable for damage
Convicted troublemakers will be liable for any damage caused.
Last year all four cities suffered enormous damage. In Rotterdam, there was €550,000 worth of damage to council property and public transport company RET reported nearly €1m in damages.
The worst spot was in The Hague suburb of Zoetermeer which had damages amounting to €2.7m.
For a report on last year’s disturbances, click here

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