Children under the age of 12 should face prosecution if they break the law, Gouda police chief Joep Pattijn is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant on Tuesday.
‘We are going to face major problems if we cannot tackle this group in the future,’ Pattijn told a news conference. For example, boys as young as 10 have been involved in threatening emergency service workers, he said.
The age of criminal responsibility in the Netherlands is currently 12.
The police department Hollands-Midden, which includes Gouda has drawn up a list of 657 known troublemakers in the region who are the focus of special police attention.
For example, people close to the top of the list are sent a card on their birthday with the phrase ‘we’ve got our eyes on you’. This is a process of being a ‘nuisance to those who cause nuisance,’ Pattijn said. Most of those on the list are aged 12 to 24, while 45 are under the age of 12.
Last year Gouda’s Oosterwei district became a national symbol of the nuisance caused by street gangs, largely dominated by ethnic minority youths. This led to anti-immigration MP Geert Wilders calling for the army to be withdrawn from Afghanistan and sent in to Gouda.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl
The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.