Three in 10 local politicians suffer violence or aggression at work

Interior of the town hall in Breda.
Interior of the town hall in Breda.

Nearly three in ten local politicians in the Netherlands encountered aggression or violence while carrying out their duties last year, according to new research.

Politicians were most likely to be threatened on social media or in face-to-face confrontations. Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb revealed at the weekend that he had stepped up his personal security detail after receiving death threats for permitting a demonstration by anti-Islam group Pegida.

Home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren has announced plans to set up a national support team including experienced politicians and experts in security and personal integrity to help local officials deal with threatening situations.

The survey showed a slight increase in the frequency of threats to politicians from 2016, when 27% reported aggression or violence.

Ollongren is also considering whether to screen all newly appointed mayors and their home addresses for potential security weaknesses. She also said political officials should report incidents of threatening and violent behaviour, after the research showed that only 10% of affected individuals notified police.

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