Supervising staff of the transport company Arriva may in certain situations use force against travelers causing nuisance on the route between Emmen and Zwolle. That is what outgoing State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol (Justice and Security, VVD) writes in a letter to the House of Representatives. The reason is the nuisance caused by asylum seekers from safe countries, who have little chance of obtaining a residence permit in the Netherlands. Some of the Arriva staff have been at home for the past few months due to injuries or stress.
Also read this report: The stewards are completely fed up with the violence at azc Ter Apel
The railway is the only train connection to the application and asylum seekers center in Ter Apel. Asylum seekers take the train to Emmen and from there the bus to Ter Apel. Personnel on the route regularly have to deal with nuisance. In October, a train driver was assaulted and kicked in the head. There was also vandalism and spitting and beating on staff. According to Broekers-Knol, the number of incidents increased to 107 in the past quarter. Incidents involving criminal offences, such as threats and violence, increased by 62 percent in the past three months, she writes in the letter.
The cabinet allows supervisory employees to be given ‘limited powers of force’. At the end of November, the train workers’ union already called for handcuffs to be provided to staff. For safety reasons, train staff only work in pairs. They are also equipped with body cameras. Cameras have also been installed at the Zwolle train station and Arriva is already checking all passengers on the platform for their ticket.
in a comment to RTV East the transport company says it is ‘happy’ with the granting of powers of force. According to the broadcaster, the conductors are handcuffed and allowed to search. Arriva wants the extra powers to apply to all train stewards and not just to employees on the route between Zwolle and Emmen.
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