Asylum seekers from ‘safe’ countries committed most crimes by foreigners in 2016 and many went unpunished, according to a report in the Telegraaf.
The paper, which has access to previously-unpublished police reports, reports that in a ten-month period in 2015 and 2016, two-thirds of crimes attributed to asylum seekers were committed by people from so-called ‘safe’ countries.
It reports that the crimes mainly involved shoplifting, and one suspect was thought to have committed 13 offences.
The paper says it requested detailed figures under freedom of information legislation after a police tip.
These asylum seekers, who apparently have no chance of getting a permit to stay since their countries are considered safe, are alleged to travel Europe choosing asylum centres, commit mostly shop theft, and disappear if they are threatened with expulsion, reports NOS.
The NOS adds that according to the 2016 annual report of the NVIK, an information point for foreigners, 566 asylum seekers were picked up for 707 crimes last year.
Of these, 84 came from Albania, 73 from Georgia, 67 from Morocco and 64 from Algeria – all considered ‘safe’ countries. Fewer than 20 suspects came from Irak and Syria.
The Telegraaf claims that these criminals – even if caught – are sometimes released without penalty ‘in the hope that they will be expulsed from the country more quickly.’
No exemption policy
Dutch police said in a press release that they ‘do not record the residency status of people who have been arrested’.
But they confirmed that there were reports of problems with asylum seekers in the North Netherlands unit, so at the end of 2016 they compiled three weekly oversights, which included incidents involving asylum seekers from safe countries.
Police foreigner crime specialist Paul van Musscher added: ‘There were signs that certain groups of asylum seekers possibly misused the asylum procedure. People from safe countries filed an asylum application when they had no chance of gaining residency.’
Dutch justice minister Stef Blok told the NOS that there was ‘no policy not to pursue asylum seekers who commit crimes’ and said that jail sentences would make no difference to the speed of rejecting or accepting asylum applications.
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