Twente – Undermining crime is everywhere, including in Twente. In the period from October 26 to November 10, the collaborating government agencies paid extra attention to the theme in the context of the Week against Undermining Twente. For example, garage box checks were carried out, there was a special week of action in the context of undermining in the transport sector and a lot of attention was paid to prevention and awareness on industrial estates and in rural areas.
Subversion occurs when the illegal underworld mixes with the legal upper world, such as criminals who use legal companies and services for illegal activities. Municipalities, the police, the Regional Information and Expertise Center (RIEC) East Netherlands, customs, the Province of Overijssel, the Public Prosecution Service, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, the Gaming Authority, the Labor Inspectorate, the Tax Authorities, the Twente Social Investigation Service, the Twente Fire Department and the Twente Environmental Service worked during the various actions intensively together in preventing and combating subversion.
Maintain quality of life
Actions took place in all 14 Twente municipalities. Joint checks were also carried out in the municipality of Hengelo of mayor Sander Schelberg. Schelberg is the regional portfolio holder for subversion. ”Undermining crime is a major threat to society. It has an impact on all of us and disrupts the way we want to live together in Twente. That is why we continue to take action against this as Twente municipalities and collaborating agencies. Together we are stronger than these criminals, says Schelberg.”
The inspections at many different locations in Twente provided a lot of information and various violations were noted. A selection of the results:
- A total of more than 120 garages were checked at five locations in Twente. The inspection is aimed at whether the garage box is used as permitted in the zoning plan. During the inspections, various violations of the zoning plan were found, including the storage of too many gas bottles and keeping an office in a garage. (possibly) stolen goods were found in two garages. Furthermore, (possible) benefit fraud and garage boxes with materials for a cannabis farm. Many garages intended for traffic (you are only allowed to store vehicles in them) were found to be used for the storage of goods.
- Inspections in catering establishments yielded several minor violations (such as indications of smoking inside and fire hazard situations). In addition, people were found working on benefits and the presence of unauthorized sisha/water pipes.
- During checks at companies and business premises, a car garage was found without reports or a permit, a wine shop without a purchase declaration, a youth center in a business premises where it was noticed that a lot of alcohol was involved, an office in a garage and seven times an attic in a commercial building without construction calculation. An enforcement process is being initiated at two companies due to business activities in violation of the zoning plan.
- Checks have been carried out at various locations for both legal and illegal prostitution. Various violations were identified in the case of legal prostitution. For example, two sex workers receive benefits and almost all sex workers do not pay taxes. Discussions were held with the sex workers to assess whether coercion may have occurred.
During checks on illegal prostitution, 11 people were found at 7 addresses working as prostitutes from their homes. In one case there was human smuggling.
TFOC action week
Twente is connected to the Netherlands and neighboring countries by air, water and road. A TFOC action week was held in Almelo, Enschede and Hengelo. TFOC stands for Transport Facilitated Organized Crime. This action is aimed at reducing criminal interference and undermining in the transport sector. Transport companies were visited at various business locations and ports. In total, more than 300 vehicles were checked, including a large number of trucks and a number of freight ships. More than 150,000 euros in outstanding fines and overdue taxes have been collected, 19 vehicles have been seized and 8 vehicles have been immediately seized. Two arrests were made in connection with the Weapons and Ammunition Act and the Road Traffic Act. In a number of cases, strong signals of organized crime have been received, which are being further investigated. There was also false self-employment in several cases. In addition to the valuable results from the inspections, dozens of conversations were held with entrepreneurs and drivers and a lot was done to raise awareness and prevention in the logistics sector in Twente.
Hester Scholten, team leader Midden-Twente at the police: ”As the police we want to catch criminals, but we also want to be in contact with the networks and sectors that may facilitate undermining crime. It’s great that during this week of action we were able to join forces from various organizations, all playing their own role.”
In addition to inspections, various municipalities and cooperating agencies held actions to raise awareness of the theme of undermining. For example, the municipality of Almelo provided workshops on undermining to WoON Twente, a partnership consisting of 16 housing associations in Twente. The municipalities of Hellendoorn, Rijssen-Holten and Wierden moved into the countryside together with the police and many partners. They entered into discussions with residents and entrepreneurs about vulnerabilities and potential dangers in rural areas. The municipality of Enschede also held awareness discussions in the countryside and provided a course on tackling human trafficking from the Fairwork foundation for colleagues from various departments to recognize signs of human trafficking and know how to act.
The action week leads to various follow-up investigations. The authorities involved will check the information obtained during the checks in the near future. If there is reason to do so, this will result in, for example, enforcement actions and administrative reports (reports on the basis of which a mayor can take appropriate administrative measures).
Information source: Politie.nl