The cabinet is setting aside €10 mn a year for the next decade to ensure the safety of local councillors and other officials.
Over 65% of mayors say they have been confronted with verbal aggression or threats and intimidation. Some 40% of council executives and 30% of councillors have experienced threats but most have not reported this to police.
‘Attacks on councillors, aldermen or mayors are an attack on us all and directlyty affect the heart of democracy,’ home minister Hanke Bruins Slot told MPs.
Threats to local government can be partly traced to organised crime but a lack of trust in local government and societal unrest are also factors, she said.
The minister said part of the money will go towards preventive safety measures and increased security at the homes of local government officials. She said she hoped the extra measures will encourage people to report incidents of intimidation and threats to the police. ‘This must never become something that is regarded as normal,’ Bruins Slot said.
A programme to map criminal patterns on a local, regional and neighbourhood level will also be strengthened so local councils know more about the development of criminal activity in their areas, particularly drug related crime, and preventive measures can be taken.
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