Mayor gets tough on knife crime at refugee centre in Brabant

The entrance to the Budel refugee centre. Photo: Roger Dohmen ANP
The entrance to the Budel refugee centre. Photo: Roger Dohmen ANP

A string of violent incidents at a refugee centre in Budel, a small village in Noord-Brabant, has led to the local mayor invoking his emergency powers in an effort to stop the trouble.

Ronald van Kessel, mayor of the local authority area of Cranendonck, which includes Budel, says the move is necessary to restore order.

Declaring the refugee centre and its surroundings to be a risk to public safety gives police the right to stop and search passersby for weapons and to ban people from the locality.

There have been at least six reports of violent incidents in or near the centre in the past three months. Last week, two men were injured in a knife attack and three teenage brothers, aged 15 to 18, were arrested.

Van Kessel said he had taken the step after discussion with refugee settlement agency COA, which is responsibility for safety. ‘They have to create a safe living environment and come up with solutions,’ Van Kessel told the Eindhovens Dagblad.

Next week, Van Kessel will discuss the issue with the king’s commissioner in Noord Brabant and junior justice minister Eric van der Burg, who is responsible for asylum seekers.

A spokesman for the COA told the paper that most of those involved in the violence were young men claiming to come from Algeria, which until last June held safe third country status.

Since then, however, the Netherlands has not regarded Algeria as a safe third country, which means asylum seekers cannot automatically be refused help.

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