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Since 2008, discriminatory incidents that are recorded by the Dutch police are reported nationally. The report is sent to Parliament each year.

The report covers:

  1. How many discriminatory incidents are registered by the police in total and per region.
  2. What were the grounds of discrimination, the type of discrimination, the municipality where the incident took place as well as the background characteristics of the perpetrators and victims.

On the basis of specific search words, all possibly relevant cases are selected from the incident registration system.

In 2015, the police reporting method became more centrally organised. This reduced regional disparities which were not directly explainable. To make queries on the digital system for registration as relevant as possible an improvement was also deployed for the year 2014 and later. Also insults to the police are now described separately.

The incidents are reported to the 10 regional police units. The unit reports these cases to the prosecutor and the municipality. They frequently discuss the impact and progress of these cases, and develop policies if necessary.

Besides the numerical picture of discriminatory incidents, some examples paint a picture of the nature of the incidents. In addition, sometimes a thematic extra report is released, as has been the case for incidents with a discriminatory motive based on sexual orientation, antisemitism and discrimination against Muslims. The report on 2015 incidents will also contain more information on specific forms and manifestations of racism and xenophobia.

In this page:

Implementing the practice: step by step

  • Steps to further implement this process will be made during 2016. In 2017, the process will have to be implemented in the daily routine of case screening and police work.
  •  IT adjustments and improved capacity in the regional units are needed as there have been difficulties in implementing the practice. For example, it is estimated that the system needs two employees working 450 hours a year to select incidents from the registration system and an analyst 200 hours to generate the report. Furthermore, in every regional police unit one police officer is needed to further screen discrimination cases for an appropriate follow up of the cases for about eight hours a week.
  • There also have been a number of discussions about the keywords being used for the queries and which cases should be further addressed for follow up. 

Evaluation of the practice

Research from the Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Security and Justice in 2016 gave some information about weaker elements in the (former) way of recording discrimination. They are incorporated in the new method of recording and reporting (better queries, central point for viewing the registration system reaching all units in the whole country).  

It showed that:

  • Working with a central point within the police organisation works better than a decentralised approach (reducing regional disparities);
  • Getting on top’ of the incidents through a central point helps in the recognition of discrimination and ensures cases are submitted to the public prosecution office, making use of the discrimination contact points in the regional units;
  • It still takes time (and knowledge) to generate good overviews, even after using queries on the registration system;
  • A separate registration code for discrimination does not really help to get a clear picture of the inflow of discrimination cases.

Critical success factors

  • For this system to work there has to be commitment from the chief of the national police and of every regional unit to guarantee there is capacity to ensure that cases will be handled according to the standard specific for discrimination cases.
  • A chief of police of a regional unit has been made responsible for this topic. This person can give instructions and assignments to implement the practice.
  • A basic infrastructure (like contact points or a network on this topic) is also needed.
  • A good design of the query is crucial.
  • Forming a guidance committee for generating the yearly report is also helpful. 

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

  • The challenges faced are not unique, but are also applicable to other EU Member States and can be shared (on request).

Key Facts

Start date: 2008.
End date: ongoing.
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Police forces.
Beneficiaries: Everyone as the focus is on all forms of discrimination.
Key objectives: This practice provides insights into the occurrence of discrimination and enables comparison between discrimination between different geographical regions within the Netherlands.

Legal basis of the practice

  • The legal basis of the practice is based on a specific hate crime legal framework.
  • The Public Prosecutor Service’s Discrimination Instructions (Aanwijzing Discriminatie) state that the police collects data on discrimination and brings out a yearly report. The police registers all forms of discrimination that are punishable by law.
  • In addition, the Public Prosecution Service collects data as well. This report contains both data on the specific articles in the criminal law section (Criminal Law Section 137c to 137g and 429quater) and as of 2015 ‘common’ crimes with a discriminatory aspect (hate crimes). 

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • Representatives from NGOs in the field of discrimination.
  • Ministry of Security and Justice.
  • Verwey-Jonker Institute.

Implementing Bodies

  • National police.

Further information