Criminals favour 11 small Dutch airports, police want more powers


Dutch military police want more powers to monitor activities at the 11 small airports in the Netherlands because little is currently known about drugs and people-smuggling at the relatively little-used points of entry, Trouw reported on Tuesday.

Currently there is no permanent physical supervision of comings and goings at any of the 11 recreational airports and the police are now insisting pilots landing at the airports be compelled to provide them with details of passengers and crew, the paper said.

At present, pilots sometimes provide this data voluntarily but there is no formalised monitoring of who enters and leaves the Netherlands via small airports. The military police are in charge of Dutch border security.

Police, customs officials and local authorities in the areas around several of the airports consider them as potential centres of criminal activity including drugs and people-smuggling, Trouw said.

Specifically, Budel airport, 25 km south of Eindhoven,Teuge, which is located between Deventer and Apeldoorn, Hoogeveen in the northeast and central Zeeland province airport Vliegveld Midden-Zeeland are identified as problem areas.

Change in the law

Criminal activity is attracted to small airports in the same way as in larger airports and seaports, a military police spokesman said. ‘Compulsory registration like that at large airports would be a great advantage. The techniques are there. The law has to be changed to make registration required,’ he said.

The most notorious cases include the smuggling of 11 Albanian adults and three children to Britain last July and the 60 kilos of heroin intercepted at Teuge airport en route from England to Germany.

‘There are fences, but gates can be left open. And we have no idea of what happens at night. Nor of what is happening in the hangars,’  an employee of one small airport who wanted to remain anonymous told the paper.

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