Area bans to deal with problem youths in Netherlands
Youth who caused trouble in certain districts will be banned immediately under the Dutch justice minister’s proposed bill.THE HAGUE – Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin wants to get tough with youths who hang around the same areas and repeatedly cause trouble.
If the bill is passed, youths who have committed certain misdemeanours will no longer be allowed to enter particular districts, reports de Volkskrant.
The minister is also working to give police courts the right to ban problem youths from designated neighbourhoods as a separate penalty. As the law now stands, neighbourhood bans can only be imposed in combination with suspended sentences.
The move should quicken up the process of banning youths from the areas where they cause problems to residents, shopkeepers, bus drivers and others. If the youths live in the neighbourhood, they would be banned from the places where they hang around causing trouble.
The measure was prompted by a series of incidents involving Moroccan problem youths in the town of Gouda in September 2008. As a result of numerous threats by Moroccan youths against bus drivers, bus company Connexxion cancelled a bus service serving one of the town's districts.
Ballin has high hopes for this district ban: “Shopkeepers complain that most cases of shoplifting involve the same suspects. If we could deny them access to a shopping centre for several months to a year, this would no longer happen. It is a very specific, effective approach."
The police are also pleased with the ban. “We should not expect it to solve all the problems, but it would allow us to remove trouble makers from the 'scene' immediately," said a senior police officer in the Gouda region.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]