SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – People who attack police and other emergency response workers will be given automatic prison sentences under a law being proposed by justice ministers Ferd Grapperhaus and Sander Dekker.
The government wants to remove judges’ discretion to issue community penalties for a wider range of offences. Currently the restriction only applies to severe violent or sexual offences.
Coalition parties VVD and CDA support the measure, as does Geert Wilders’s PVV party, the Telegraaf reported, meaning it is likely to gain a majority in both houses of parliament even if the other coalition partners vote against it.
The bill is expected to be submitted to parliament on Monday. Last year police officers reported being attacked in the course of their work 10,593 times, compared to 9,598 the previous year.
Offences ranged from spitting and punching to driving cars at officers. Grapperhaus and Dekker also want to make it easier to detain suspects in remand centres so they can be dealt with via the fast-track procedure.
‘Violence against police officers and emergency workers is unacceptable,’ said Grapperhaus. ‘They are frequently assisting people in acute life-threatening situations. Such violence needs to be dealt with firmly and community sentences are not appropriate.’