The police cannot handle the security of any new crown witnesses at the moment. That is what deputy chief of police Liesbeth Huyzer said in the NPO Radio 1 program Sven op 1.
Huyzer says she understands the importance of key witnesses in tackling criminals. But “you shouldn’t want a new star witness at the moment,” she says. “It has to be in order first.”
Minister Yesilgöz (Justice and Security) wants to expand the crown witness scheme, she announced last November. For example, she also wants to be able to use less serious criminals as crown witnesses and to expand the sentence reduction for crown witnesses.
OM chief Gerrit van der Burg also wants to make more use of smaller players in criminal organizations in the future. “But there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said in Nieuwsuur on Wednesday.
The House of Representatives has yet to make a decision on the plans, but experts believe that the ministry should first solve the problems in the current system.
Missed signals around murders
The Dutch Safety Board (OVV) concluded in a devastating report on Wednesday that the security system for crown witnesses urgently needs to be overhauled.
The police and the Public Prosecution Service would have missed many signals prior to the murders of the brother of crown witness Nabil B., B.’s lawyer Derk Wiersum and his confidant Peter R. de Vries. In the report, the OVV spoke about system errors, incorrect estimates and miscommunication between the police and the Public Prosecution Service.
Huyzer acknowledges that the police have failed to protect B. However, the leadership does not intend to resign. “We have decided to put our shoulders under it,” she said in the radio program.
According to Huyzer, the police are “really doing their utmost” to properly protect those involved in the Marengo process. “I dare say that we can do it in a really good way at the moment.”
The police deploys security personnel who have been trained for other units. “They do this as an additional task. It concerns a group of 300 people. It is also at the expense of the capacity in the basic teams.”
In a first reaction to the report, Yesilgöz also emphasized that since 2021 additional investments have been made in the capacity to protect people.
- Damaging report casts shadow over expansion of crown witness scheme
- Family shot dead brother of key witness happy with OVV investigation report
- Mistakes made in the run-up to the murders of Derk Wiersum and Peter R. de Vries, says OVV