Officials with public duties are regularly confronted with aggression and violence
during the performance of their duties. Persons with whom they are dealing, either
directly, can become intimidating, threatening or even violent. This, for several
reasons, is unacceptable. This behaviour influences the officer’s ability to do his/her
work. It is detrimental to the performance of public duties, imposes pressure on integrity
and sound administration, and can damage trust in the authorities. Moreover, tolerating
aggression/violence makes the offenders only more untouchable. Aggression and violence
against officials with public duties undermines authority: it must be tackled firmly
and prevented whenever possible.
In 2005, the then Government announced its Actieplan tegen geweld (action plan against
violence) that laid down a more targeted and society-wide approach to violence. In
2006, this resulted in the preparation of a national Aanpak agressie en geweld tegen
werknemers met publieke taken (action plan to tackle aggression and violence against
officials with public duties).
The Veilige Publieke Taak (VPT, safe public duties) programme was launched in 2010,
with what are referred to as ‘VPT regions’. The municipalities, police, Public Prosecution
Service, and employers in these regions cooperate in the approach to tackling aggression
and violence against officials with public duties. This is based on three main elements,
- promoting the local administrative approach and promoting the approach adopted by
employers and officials on the basis of the eight national VPT measures;
- developing the preventive approach to aggression and violence in more detail;
- implementing the offender-focused approach.