The first Halt office was established in Rotterdam in 1981 and grew rapidly. Other local authorities followed swiftly in the following years.
In the same period, the Ministry of Security and Justice reported about vandalism and petty crime through reports of the Committee on Petty Crime (Commissie kleine criminaliteit) in 1984 and 1986, and 'Society and Crime: A Policy Plan for the Netherlands' (beleidsplan Samenleving en Criminaliteit) in 1985. The urgency to act upon this type of crime was shared by a majority of the public.
At the same time, daily practice showed that a lot of these cases were not prosecuted by the public prosecutor (OM). From an educational point of view however, it is extremely important that young offenders are faced with a response. Ultimately, this resulted in the Justice Minister taking steps to create Halt offices.
The Halt programme was incorporated in the Dutch Penal Code in 1995. Article 77e of the Code describes the Halt programme as a conditional warning by the police, under the responsibility of the Public Prosecution Service. The Halt programme has been implemented in each municipality in the Netherlands ever since that time.
Despite the fact that all Halt offices used the same idea as Halt Rotterdam and started out as a municipal initiative, there were some striking differences when it came to the implementation of the programme.
The preventive activities that have been part of the work of the Halt offices from the very beginning also show a highly diverse picture. This is a logical consequence of the manner in which local projects are worked out in more detail.