Netherlands: Prime Minister Mark Rutte's security boosted after threats from drug criminals - reports

27 September 2021, 15:48 | Updated: 27 September 2021, 17:16

Security around the Netherlands' prime minister has been boosted following threats from criminals linked to the drugs trade, it has been claimed.

Mark Rutte, whose conservative government has vowed to crack down on organised crime, has always sought to maintain a limited level of personal protection since taking office almost 11 years ago.

The 54-year-old is often seen cycling to and from his home and government buildings in The Hague and is often approached by passers-by wishing to take selfies with him or to chat.

But killings and violence linked to the Dutch narcotics industry have become common in recent years, despite low gun crime figures.

A government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the report about the PM's security in De Telegraaf.

Asked about the claims, Mr Rutte told reporters: "Safety and protection are issues never to be discussed in public."

In a sign of the increased violence in the drugs trade, a well-known Dutch crime reporter, Peter de Vries, was shot in broad daylight in Amsterdam in July.

It came months after he took on the role of counsellor to the star witness in a high-profile trial.

He died of his injuries days later.

The former lawyer of the witness had been killed in similar fashion in front of his Amsterdam home in 2019.