Crime gangs gain Schiphol foothold

29th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 January 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Organised crime gangs have gained a solid foothold at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, using a large number of corrupt staff and public servants to assist in thefts and the smuggling of drugs, Dutch police have claimed.

29 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — Organised crime gangs have gained a solid foothold at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, using a large number of corrupt staff and public servants to assist in thefts and the smuggling of drugs, Dutch police have claimed.

The police team Randstad-Noord (KTR) — which combats organised crime at the main Dutch international airport — also said that drastic measures are needed to restrict the flow of drugs into the Netherlands.

Threats and bribes are either forcing of tempting Schiphol staff and pubic servants into criminal activities, with the KTR team suggesting that there is a strong temptation at the airport to profit from the smuggle of drugs. Crime gang members are also becoming employed in legitimate companies.

The KTR — which will soon be renamed Unit Randstad-Noord — claimed that criminals use Schiphol because it is a well-organised logistical junction, newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

Together with the customs service, military police, taxation investigation service FIOD and the business community, KTR is trying to close the gaps in work habits and systems to restrict the smuggling of drugs.

KTR team chief Adriaan van Dorp said security at the Amsterdam airport warrants greater attention, claiming that the background pre-screening of airport personnel is not intensive enough.

But Van Dorp said it is difficult to estimate how many corrupt workers and public servants are employed at Schiphol.

He also said the complexity and the large geographic size of the airport hinders investigations, admitting that it is difficult to determine if someone is carrying out their normal function or is engaged in a crime. Furthermore, unauthorised people can enter secured areas with copied or loan pass cards, he said.

KTR advises the business community about crime prevention and admits that some companies do not realise how attractive they are for criminals and thus operate with insufficient security.

To improve security at the airport, KTR has set up an "integrity" group consisting of the business community, the judiciary, military police, the customs service and police. One of its first tasks was to tighten freight and catering work systems. Security cameras and iris scans have also been ordered.

Van Dorp said the screening of airport staff will also be tightened at the cost of worker privacy. He also said large companies have invested large sums of money into security, but is demanding further investments.

Companies, the government and public enterprises will need to exchange more information in the future and operate more complimentary security measures.

Johan van Kastel, the Commissioner of the Nationale Recherche — a national organised crime investigation unit — is particularly keen to intensify co-operation between private companies and public enterprises.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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