Mark Harbers is the State Secretary for Justice and Security in the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte (hmm… this seems to be of government of Marks) in the Netherlands. Or rather, he was the state secretary until a few days ago, when a major scandal forced him to resign. It seems that he had manipulated the statistics on violent crimes committed by asylum seekers, concealing the magnitude of the problem by including the figures under “Miscellaneous” instead of under “Rape”, “Assault”, “Armed Robbery”, and all the other pastimes routinely enjoyed by culture-enriching Dutch “youths”.
I don’t doubt that Mr. Harbers’ sleight-of-hand was ordered by his superiors in the government. But since his office holds the portfolio for such actions, he had to take the fall for it.
Many thanks to C for translating this excerpt from a press conference, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
Below are excerpts from an article at NL Times about Mr. Harbers’ manipulation of crime statistics:
Justice Ministry hiding serious crimes committed by asylum seekers: report
The Ministry of Justice and Security hid the number of serious crimes committed by asylum seekers in the Netherlands by including crimes like sexual offenses, aggravated assaults, and murder and manslaughter or attempts thereto under the heading of “other” in figures released to parliament, the Telegraaf reports.
Earlier this week State Secretary Mark Harbers released police figures on crimes committed by asylum seekers last year, but the above mentioned serious crimes were not mentioned in the report. This is because these crimes were included in the “other” category, the Telegraaf writes after checking the figures with police. According to the newspaper, it concerns 79 sexual offenses, 51 aggravated assaults, and 31 suspicions of murder and manslaughter or attempts thereto.
When asked why these crimes were not explicitly mentioned in the report, Harbers’ department said hat this involved “not proven cases” and they were trying to make sure the overview is not inexhaustibly long, according to newspaper AD. The final overview consisted of one column on half an A4 in the over 50 pages long report, the newspaper writes.
The report showed that the police responded a total of 4,600 times last year to reports of crimes committed by asylum seekers. This mainly involved crimes like shoplifting or pickpocketing, but also assault, threats and vandalism. Of these cases, 2,610 ended up with the Public Prosecutor. It concerns a total of 1,710 suspects, so many of them were suspected of more than one offense.
The Telegraaf’s revelation led to angry reactions from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. CDA parliamentarian Madeleine van Toorenburg asked Harbers for clarification, pointing out that the Ministry was previously under fire about a report on crimes around a asylum centers, AD reports. “Then too we were fooled by studies that would show it was not all that bad. That analysis was also incorrect because many had been left out of consideration. This requires clarification. I submitted a debate request because we can only make policy based on complete and honest figures.”
|00:00||As you all know, there was an outcry last week due to the report on the “processing of aliens”.|
|00:09||The core of the criticism was that serious [criminal] offenses were hard to find in the report.|
|00:16||This subsequently led to a discussion about whether statistics had been manipulated.|
|00:21||When this became public last Thursday, I recognized,|
|00:25||in a letter to parliament, and in the media, that our manner of communication was not optimal.|
|00:30||Moreover, I added that there never was any intention to create confusion about these statistics.|
|00:39||My goal has always been complete transparency.|
|00:43||This striving for increased transparency was the reason|
|00:47||for the change in communication in the first place.|
|00:50||From the start, my goal was to be completely open|
|00:54||about all criminal incidents involving asylum seekers.|
|00:58||I find this necessary, because only by being open|
|01:02||about these issues can we bolster popular support for accepting refugees.|
|01:07||This is where things went wrong. I’ve just informed the Speaker that before I draw my conclusions,|
|01:16||I would like to appear in parliament as soon as possible,|
|01:20||today if possible, and be held accountable.|
|01:27||[Journalist] Mr Harbers, what is your conclusion?|
|01:31||Let me put it this way: I assume this will be my last debate in this [?]