Police budget hits €200 million shortfall
Minister of Safety and Justice Ivo Opstelten underestimated the financial implications of the restructure process of the National Police by €200 million. The entire process could reach a total cost of €431 million, according to the police department's Central Works Council (COR). Minister Ivo Opstelten had overlooked a few logistical factors, and the process has been underfunded, according to COR Chairman Frank Giltay. Relocation compensation, travel expenses, training costs and severance packages were lacking in the budget, he said, and the national police force is now faced with costs exceeding their proposed budget. "We informed the Minister of our concerns beforehand, but Opstelten blinded himself from reality," Giltay said. "He can now see the reality for himself in black and white."
MP Magda Berndsen of D66 says she is not surprised by the underestimation of the costly restructure. "Despite repeated questioning, he had still denied that there is an issue with the budget. Opstelten had painted a very rosy picture" The transformation of the 26 police departments has not been a particularly smooth operation. The installation of the computer systems were troubled, while planned reductions were never made, all in addition to the now skyrocketing cost estimate. Police and unions are asking for additional finances to prevent cuts and retrenchments.