15 cities gets €82 million to combat juvenile drugs crime

Justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz has allocated €82 million to projects to stop youngsters becoming involved in drugs crime.

The money will go to 15 local authority areas where the risk of becoming embroiled in drugs crime is greatest, including big cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, as well as smaller locations like Heerlen, Leeuwarden, Tilburg and Nieuwegein.

‘Criminals tempt primary school children to deliver packages, they ask secondary school pupils to take someone somewhere and pick them up on their moped,’ the minister said in a briefing to MPs. ‘Then one day they hear shots and are involved in a gangland killing.’

Councils must draw up the early intervention plans themselves and the money will be distributed on the basis of these.

The aim is to provide youngsters with work and an income, and a ‘stern telling off’ from police or social workers if they put a foot wrong.

‘Everything depends on talking to youngsters about their behaviour and involving their parents,’ Yeşilgöz said. ‘We can only stop the intimidation of our youngsters through an intensive, personalised approach.’

Amsterdam already has its ‘top 600’ project, involving 600 youngsters who social workers warn are on the edge of turning to more serious crime. Utrecht too has made tackling potential juvenile offenders a key issue.

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