Police accused of abandoning Dutch countryside to criminals

Police officer and sniffer dog search a wooded area
Police officer and sniffer dog search a wooded area. Politie

The Dutch country side is a "playground for criminals", where the police show up late, if they show up at all, 12 commissioners of the King wrote in a scathing report about the priorities of the National Police, AD reports.

While the National Police, formed in 2013, focus on cities in the Randstad area, the rest of the Netherlands goes un-monitored, according to the commissioners. This resulted in a "police-less countryside", where there are no uniforms on the street, insufficient detecting capacity and a barely functioning water police. Criminals can be about their business unhindered. "If you want to make a criminal career, you'd be wise to go to rural areas, there's hardly any police." 

Countryside regions see how 'their' police officers are scooped up to be used in national activities. And due to the formation of the National Police, this has become so easy that  police officers disappear without a sound and ongoing investigations are abandoned, according to the commissioners. 

If police officers are spotted in rural areas, they are responding to something that already happened. Patrolling is a thing of a past. And it is an occasion if the police arrive on time, according to the commissioners. Due to the fact that rural municipalities often cover several towns, police response times easily run up to half an hour, instead of the police aim to be on site in 15 minutes.

The water police is so understaffed that they have no view on organized crime in the harbors, the commissioners write. While Rotterdam has its own seaport police, Zeeland, the Netherlands second biggest harbor, is left with basically nothing.

The National Police would not respond to the commissioners' report, but said that they will make contact with the commissioners shortly. The Ministry of Security and Justice would also not comment on the commissioners "opinion", AD reports. 

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