VVD turns from “blue in the street” to prevention: “Where are the parents?”

VVD believes that parents should correct and limit their wayward children. Parents who refuse to do so can expect penalties. “You prevent crime at the kitchen table.”

Oak van Eijsden

“Where are the parents?” According to the coalition party VVD, this question, which arises again after every riot or quarrel, must be answered quickly. Because not the government, but parents are responsible for their children’s education, according to a policy proposal put forward by Member of Parliament Rod Verquelen on Friday. “This responsibility also applies to the behavior your children display in the street.”

It’s alarming, says Verquelen, that teens are exhibiting criminal behavior at an increasingly young age. This year, twelve thirteen-year-olds have already been arrested for violent robberies. The telegraph Recently – double compared to 2021. Parents sometimes barely or not at all realize the risks to their children, he says.

He says such parents need help and support. He sums up: “If your son or daughter suddenly has two phones, brings expensive things or comes home too late, you already know something isn’t quite right.” “You have to pay close attention to such signals. Because before you know it, your child will be trapped by organized crime.”

“How did you get this coat?”

According to a member of the VVD, parents are currently the missing link in preventing juvenile crime. Verquelin notes that the focus is mainly on the enforcers and the youth themselves. That must change. Many schools have an educational triangle: teacher, pupil and parents are jointly responsible. But if you look at how things are on the street, you’ll see that sometimes parents have completely disappeared from the picture. They have to participate again.”

For this, it is necessary to have a much larger number of community police officers and young boas who know the neighborhood well, says Verquelen, who has worked in the police for years. They should address young people who display risky behavior about it, and then confront the parents with that behavior. “You see someone walking around with expensive things and asking, ‘Do your parents know you have an expensive coat?'” You should also ask the parents themselves this question. This way you ensure that the parents resume their roles.

Voguelar neighborhoods

VVD’s proposal is remarkable. Traditionally, liberals focus primarily on crown jewels such as fighting crime and being “blue in the street.” It was also agreed in the coalition agreement that there should be a much larger number of community police officers, although this number is only gradually increasing.

In recent reservoirs, less attention has been paid to prevention through education. Also, previous safe neighborhood initiatives cannot always depend on the approval of the VVD. For example, it was VVD Minister Steve Blok who put an end to the “area approach” of Minister Ella Vogelaar (PvdA) in 2014. Later, experts judged this approach positively – according to them, the government backtracked too early .

In addition, the current shortage of community police officers is partly caused by the large cuts to the police in the second Rutte government. Is the VVD now solving the problems that occurred under his rule? This is “very easy,” says Verquelen. “But,” he admits, “prevention is an angle that’s being emphasized more now. We really need to get these young people away from crime, and parents are indispensable for that.”

Fine for refusing parents

Sometimes it is simply not possible to set your children on the right path, the VVD politician understands. He therefore calls for “more patience” if a parent (or child) has a mild intellectual disability.

But if parents who are able to cooperate refuse to do so, according to Verkelin, penalties must follow. For example, the mayor can impose an “order subject to payment of a periodic fine,” which is a fine for repeated violations. In addition, the VVD wants parents to be liable from now on for damages caused by children up to the age of seventeen – this limit is now sixteen. In some cases, Verquelen says, parents should be forced to take a parenting course. “You prevent crime at the kitchen table.”

The Hilversum VVD member admits it can be painful to face misbehavior from your children. In fact, he has personal experience with it. “If underage children in our municipality are caught drinking alcohol at night, parents have to come to the police station to pick them up. I also had to pick up my kids once. I thought, Damn, this just happens.” on my watch. It is important for parents to correct and limit themselves in such cases.”

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