New police protocol puts victims of crime centre stage


From today every person reporting a crime to the police will be evaluated to see whether he or she is likely to need protection, the police authority said on Friday.

If a person is deemed ‘vulnerable’ and likely to become the victim of a revenge attack or threats as a result of reporting a crime, police will take action, the statement said.

Measures to protect victims include withholding personal data such as addresses, or a restraining order against a suspect, or a referral to a social service. Until now, suspects could easily obtain the address of someone making a complaint against them.

Justice minister Sander Dekker calls the new scheme, which brings Dutch police practice in line with European guidelines, ‘an important step’.

‘The new protocol adopted by the police, the public prosecutor’s office and Victim Support puts the victim centre stage. Much extra grief for victims can be avoided. It is bad enough being a victim once,’ the minister said.

A pilot in Arnhem and Maastricht has shown that taking more time to listen to victims and monitoring the aftermath works. ‘We found that victims were very relieved to be put on the right track straight away,’ Limburg police officer Catja Bergsma told public broadcaster NOS.

The protocol means extra work for police officers and 125 new officers will drafted in.

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