Crime hotline Meld Misdaad Anoniem is selling information about possible crimes to local councils, energy firms, the tax office and insurance companies, according to research by magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.
The hotline, set up in 2002 as a public private foundation and funded by a annual €1.1m government grant, has formed ‘partnerships’ with commercial and public organisations since 2015 and raised almost €500,000 from selling information to them a year later.
Although all tips are passed on to the police, other organisations are also interested in the information and are prepared to pay an annual fee plus a fixed amount per report.
Amsterdam, for example, has a €2,000 subscription and pays €47.50 per tip-off. Utrecht pays a €1,000 annual fee and €22.50 per tip.
Titus Visser of NL Confidential, the company which runs the hotline, says they have been forced to look for alternative sources of income for financial reasons.
Asked why councils should pay extra for information about, say a marijuana plantation, which the police already have for free, Visser said: ‘They can get their civil servants to carry out extra checks on fire safety or if the building permits are okay.
‘Councils can do much more than wait for the blue lights to smash down the front door. They have lots of tools at their disposal to make criminals’ lives more difficult.’
Legal experts told the magazine that trading in information could lead to the hotline becoming over-commercialised and too focused on sales. The company itself says two out of three reports are not sold on because they are not reliable.
The hotline claims to have dealt with 150,000 tips since its foundation and that 12,000 crimes have been solved as a result.
NL Confidential also operates hotlines for reporting sects and cases of discrimination.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation