Inspiring Approaches

Amsterdam“Free in, free out policy” – Safe reporting and other protection measures against the detention of non-documented migrants in Amsterdam

What is inspiring?

In Amsterdam, the police have developed the only known national example of official “firewall protection” for victims of crime in Europe, as part of their “Free in, Free out” policy. The term “firewall protection” was first coined with the Sanctuary Cities programme in the US and Canada. Here, it refers to policies that enable migrants who have been victims of or witnesses to a crime to enter a police station to report the crime, and be guaranteed to freely leave without being arrested or detained on account of their irregular status.

Who initiated the project? What is the outcome?

While Amsterdam’s “Free In, Free Out” firewall policy began in 2013, it was extended to other Dutch municipalities and introduced nationally in 2015. Scholars point towards some of its limitations, most notably that the policy exists largely as an informal arrangement. But overall, they recognise it as a European best practice for safe reporting. These studies also highlight how these measures stem from both pragmatic and rights-based arguments.

Are there any other supportive measures?

Less well known, but equally pertinent, are the municipality’s arrangements with local police to not carry out patrols around local organisations that provide legal counselling and other forms of assistance to non-documented migrants. This practice is based on an informal decision of the police senior management and agreement with the mayor. It is also common in a few other Dutch cities (e.g., Utrecht).

All inspiring approaches