The Netherlands is starting to resemble a narco-state, according to local police.
Official figures suggest crime is on a downward trend but officers say many victims have stopped reporting incidents while organised crime syndicates have been given a free rein.
“Only one in nine criminal groups can be tackled with the current people and resources,” the report given to the De Telegraaf newspaper says. “Detectives see that small criminals develop into wealthy entrepreneurs who establish themselves in the hospitality industry, housing market, middle class, travel agencies.”
The paper from the Dutch police union, based on interviews with 400 detectives, adds: “The Netherlands fulfils many characteristics of a narco-state. Detectives see a parallel economy emerge.”
Critics of the Dutch gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy) towards the sale of cannabis in coffee shops, and the legal status of prostitution in the country, claim the Netherlands has been inadvertently promoted as a major hub for the trafficking of drugs in cities nightlife style and tourism.
A large majority of ecstasy taken in Europe and the US comes from labs in the south of the country, which are increasingly run by Moroccan gangs involved in the production of cannabis. Half of the €5.7bn a year of cocaine taken in Europe comes through the port of Rotterdam, according to Europol.
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