Petty offenders face public exposure

29th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM − Dutch privacy laws will be adjusted this year allowing photos of people suspected of petty crimes such as shop thefts, minor assault and burglaries to be placed on television, in newspapers and the internet.

29 June 2004

AMSTERDAM − Dutch privacy laws will be adjusted this year allowing photos of people suspected of petty crimes such as shop thefts, minor assault and burglaries to be placed on television, in newspapers and the internet.

The latest weapon in the fight against crime is expected to come into force in the Autumn and the Public Prosecution Office (OM) will send official instructions to all public prosecutors this summer, newspaper Trouw reported on Tuesday.

Previously, only photos of people suspected of serious crimes − such as murder and rape − were allowed to be published. But in future, people suspected of crimes carrying a maximum jail term of four years may also be publicly identified by photos.

The presiding OM council, College van Procureurs-Generaal (Attorneys-General Council), hopes the new measure will help ease public safety concerns. It is also hoped the new approach will help solve more crimes.

The OM hopes in future to better link up with the target groups of commercial television programmes by displaying photos that will invoke the audience's emotions.

On music broadcaster TMF, the photos will be published with messages such as "What would you think if your grandfather is beaten?". The council is thus reversing previous policies of publishing impersonal crime-stopper notices and formats used in TV shows such as Opsporing Verzocht.

The crime stopper notices, often published with photos from surveillance cameras, have been broadcast on commercial broadcasters such as TMF since April this year. (Youth) viewers can react to the notice via SMS if they recognise the serious crime suspects.

In the future audiences will be able to assist further in the fight against crime if they recognise suspects of petty crimes.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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