Amsterdam plan to rehouse serial nuisance neighbours

A canal bridge in Amsterdam (file image) The authorities say they want to stop innocent families being bullied out of Amsterdam's picturesque centre

The authorities in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, plan to move persistent nuisance neighbours into container homes for six months or more.

They have set aside 1m euros (£800,000; $1.3m) for the scheme, whereby special hit squads will identify offenders.

These will then be housed in the caravan-style containers, under the eye of police and social services.

The council denied seeking to create ghettos - or "scum villages", as have they have been called by some.

Troublemakers are to be moved out of the picturesque centre of the city and placed in isolated areas, with access to only basic services.

But a spokesperson for Amsterdam council told the BBC the last thing it wanted was to create ghettos full of troublemakers, that would just become a "hotbed for more trouble".

'Fighting the bullies'

Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan believes that at the moment the system is "upside down", that innocent families are being forced to move out because of their bullying or anti-social neighbours.

What the council wants is to force those responsible for the trouble to leave instead.

Tahira Limon from Amsterdam council explained: "Our plan is to combat bullying.

"Usually people are scared to report problems for fear of intimidation. It's an upside down world and we want to change it so the people who cause the problems are moved."

The new rules will only be enforced in extreme cases. For example, they say, if gay people are being harassed or police witnesses intimidated.

A similar idea was recently proposed by the populist politician Geert Wilders who called for the introduction of "scum villages" to remove troublemakers from normal society.

That was typical Geert Wilders-style headline-grabbing language, but Amsterdam council says it does not accurately describe their plan, which they say is simply designed to protect the victims and penalise the perpetrators.

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