Tougher punishments for crimes against frontline workers in new law proposal

Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee
Frontline workers have been enforcing corona fines Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

The Dutch government wants to get tougher on people who commit acts of violence against frontline workers.

Justice ministers Ferd Grapperhaus and Sander Dekker have proposed a law mandating prison sentences for these crimes, rather than community service.

‘Violence against people with a public role needs to be tackled firmly and community service is not a suitable punishment,’ they said in a proposal sent to the lower house.

The law would protect anyone in a public-facing role involved with maintaining law and order, from police, fire and ambulance workers to doctors, traffic wardens and prison workers. “Every day they stick out their necks, maintaining public order under dangerous circumstances and giving help to people in need,” said the ministers. “Because their work involves taking action, they cannot step back and retreat to safety and that is why they deserve protection against violence.”

Community service orders currently cannot be given as punishment to people found guilty of serious sex crimes or violent crimes, says public broadcaster NOS.

Last week, the public prosecution service reported that it has registered 294 crimes related to the coronavirus and in roughly half of these, police or frontline workers were the victims.

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