Violence against NS staff is getting out of hand, says director

NS director Roger van Boxtel is asking for harsher punishments for anyone who is violent towards NS staff. This follows incidents of severe violence against staff members, and the shooting of two trains. 

Last month, Sander Dekker, Minister of Legal Protection, presented a bill in parliament that would allow for harsher punishments for those who are violent towards social workers. This ruling currently extends to conductors, but Van Boxtel wants to extend this to all NS staff, who he argues are all caretakers of the public.

Pellet gun attack on a train last week

Recently, the NS has been the subject of several violent attacks. Last week, a train was shot at with with pellet guns. Five windows were shattered on the inside, but luckily remained intact inside. No staff or passengers were injured, and two fifteen year old boys have been arrested on suspicion of damaging trains.

Conductor hit in the neck by passenger

At the end of September, a train conductor was assaulted by a passenger in Breda train station. The passenger had been travelling on the same train as the conductor, and did not have a valid ticket. When the conductor exited the train at Breda, the passenger hit her in the neck. Police are still searching for the attacker.

More employees had to deal with violence in 2018 than 2017

While last year the amount of violence against staff inside trains decreased, the amount of violence against them at stations increased by 21 percent. More employees in total (753) had to deal with violence from the public in 2018 than in 2017. According to van Boxtel, he can sense a pattern of violence forming, and “a kind of restlessness has arisen.” This is absolutely unacceptable, he says, especially when it is directed at people who are doing their best to get everyone from a to b. The NS serves 1.3 million people each day.

Do you agree that those who threaten NS staff should be punished more severely? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image: FaceMePLS/Flickr. 

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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