Stiffer punishments for aggression against police

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The Dutch government wants to impose tougher punishments for aggression against police officers and firefighters. Currently, such punishments are 150 higher than those imposed for the same offences committed against other people. Security and Justice Minister Ivo Optelten wants to raise the ratio to 200 percent.

In a letter addressed to parliament, the liberal VVD minister says he has instructed the Public Prosecutor to introduce the measure as of 1 January 2011. Under the new law, those convicted of offences against police officers and firefighters can be given punishments that are three times higher than those stipulated for other people. The measure had been announced in the coalition agreement.

Minister Opstelten, a former Rotterdam mayor, says the measure is "not symbolical" but is designed to raise "the authority of police officers."

The security and justice minister, reports conservative newspaper , has also welcomed proposals to order police officers to travel to work dressed in uniform in order to improve public security. The daily says the idea has been launched by the local branch of the conservative VVD in the southern province of Limburg, which is believed to have taken it from the Belgian city of Antwerp.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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