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A Dutch police report that was supposed to remain hidden from the public now unveils that in 2015 and 2016 there are 104 cases of status-holders suspected of serious crimes, like armed robbery and sex offences. Furthermore, 183 are repeat offenders, while 9300 of them are suspected of committing a single offence.

What makes this worse, is that large groups of asylum seekers seem to be part of organised crime groups, that trek from country to country, stealing on order. One case in the files describes groups of ‘refugees’ leaving their accommodations at 03:00 every night, presumably for criminal activities. Police describe finding lists with orders for things to steal. Over the first nine months of 2016, police reported 663 cases of theft, and 302 cases of crimes against personal integrity, ranging from spitting in people’s faces and insults to sexual assault and rape from this particular group of asylum seekers alone. That is disregarding the 200 incidents every month that require police attention, without leading to charges being made.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) often decides not to prosecute, so the deportation process isn’t interfered with by a court-case. But with asylum seekers not getting deported, or only getting deported after a considerable period of time, this means that crimes go unpunished, while the criminal is allowed to stay.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf today published a bombshell article about the staggering number of crimes committed by so-called ‘status-holders’, asylum seekers seeking refugee status in the Netherlands (original reports here). The newspaper, which the police had previously attempted to bribe to silence the story, says it now has binders full of crime statistics on this specific group.

Reading the documents, journalists were astonished at what they read. Police officers freely tell how big the problem is – and what groups are mostly responsible.

After a tip-off, it took De Telegraaf months to get this information from the National Police Force. It took a court case to get the police to even acknowledge it had collected this information, and the existence of a special taskforce to deal with the situation.

Just on the national level between 2015 and 2016, disregarding information gathered by local police departments, there are 104 cases of status-holders suspected of serious crimes, like armed robbery and sex offences. Furthermore, 183 are repeat offenders, while 9300 of them are suspected of committing a single offence. These are all people that applied for refugee status in 2015 and 2016, 16% out of a total of 60.000 people.

It turns out, most of these ‘refugees’ are actually originating from so-called ‘safe countries’ and have no actual chance of being given refugee status. Yet, deporting them is difficult, if not technically impossible.

To make matters worse, even if the police are able to catch the criminals – which is not a given – the ‘refugee’ is still not guaranteed a sentence. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) often decides not to prosecute, so the deportation process isn’t interfered with by a court-case. But with asylum seekers not getting deported, or only getting deported after a considerable period of time, this means that crimes go unpunished, while the criminal is allowed to stay.

In a report from the end of 2016, the task force writes that

“The question is if not prosecuting the cases is desirable when the suspect cannot be deported immediately, and will thus freely stay in the Netherlands untill his deportation. “

What makes this worse, is that large groups of asylum seekers seem to be part of organised crime groups, that trek from country to country, stealing on order. One case in the files describes groups of ‘refugees’ leaving their accommodations at 03:00 every night, presumably for criminal activities. Police describe finding lists with orders for things to steal. The numbers point to the size of the problem. Over the first nine months of 2016, police reported 663 cases of theft, and 302 cases of crimes against personal integrity, ranging from spitting in people’s faces and insults, to sexual assault and rape from this particular group of asylum seekers alone. That is disregarding the 200 incidents every month that require police attention, without leading to charges being made.

The article, published early on 30 June, has already gotten the attention of Dutch politicians. MP Maarten Groothuizen (D66) reacted upset:

If there are problems, we need to know that. I don’t see any reason to hide important records, because then we can’t deal with the problem. There is always a place for real refugees in the Netherlands, but we have to be tough on those that cause a racket. Criminals and those causing trouble should always be dealt with.