DutchAmsterdam.nl — Police in Amsterdam has for the first time patrolled a public transport bus while they were wearing civilian clothes instead of their uniforms.
Nineteen school children were apprehended for misbehavior.
In cooperation with the Municipal Transport Company (GVB, Gemeente Vervoersbedrijf) members of the Safety Team Public Transport (Veiligsheidteam Openbaar Vervoer) specifically targeted school kids who were causing a public nuisance on buses along one particular route.
“In two after-school events we apprehended no less than 19 misbehaving school kids. That shows this approach to be effective, so we will do this more often, also on other routes.
Passengers and bus drivers have long complained about the unruly children. The school kids are not merely noisy, but also throw their bags wherever this wish, kick against chairs, and threathen fellow passengers and bus drivers.
They also bully and curse those who address them regarding their behavior.
Violence against public transport workers
Over the past year, throughout the Netherlands there has been a wave of unprovoked attacks on bus and trams drivers. These attacks, in which people who work in public transport have been spat upon, beating and sometimes robbed at knife point, are for the most part committed by youthful hooligans and small-time criminals.
Similar attacks have taken place in trains, where ticket controllers often are subjected to abuse by aggressive non-payers. Recently one such controller was knocked and kicked unconscious after he told two men not to pee in the train.
Attacks on passengers are less frequent, but many travelers report feeling intimidated.
One politician has suggested that people who work in the public transport sector are allowed to carry and use pepper spray.
Making hooliganism expensive
The NS (Dutch Railway company), meanwhile has booked some success with an approach in which perpetrators of violence against its personnel are prosecuted and then presented with high bills intended to make misbehavior as expensive as possible.
An aggressive no-payer who threatened a 6 person team of ticket controllers with a gun was sentenced to two years in jail, along with mandatory behavior training sessions. The sentence also included a €2400 fine — €400 for each of the six railways employees. The NS subsequently billed the criminal €22.790,40 meant as a refund for the salary the company continued to pay for the men, who went on sick leave after the incident.
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