The mayor of Amsterdam should negotiate an international city ban with other European cities for pickpockets who remain active after they have served their sentence.
The call comes from the right-wing liberal VVD in Amsterdam and follows the sentencing of pickpockets arrested during the Gay Pride week, some of whom were subsequently found to have previous records for the same offence.
Police arrested 47 pickpockets during Gay Pride, 42 of whom were from Romania. Most of them have already been in court and were given sentences of up to 10 weeks.
The public prosecution department told the Telegraaf it was disappointed the sentences were not tougher. It had asked for up to six months.
‘We had hoped an event like Gay Pride would act as an aggravating factor, but the judge did not agree,’ a spokesman told the paper.
The Amsterdam VVD says pickpocketing has increased alarmingly over the past few years. In 2012, it went up by 36%. Romanians are over-represented in this form of criminality, the party says.
It is now calling for action. ‘We want the mayor to officially recognise pickpocketing as a priority,’ a spokesman told the Volkskrant.
They want an ‘area ban’ for known pickpockets to keep them out of the centre, extra police to tackle the problem and an agreement with other European cities to take firm action.
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