Too many police know too little about law

Amsterdam police
A police flex squad supporting crowd control in Amsterdam. Feb. 18, 2010Jos van ZettenFlickrCC-BY

Police officers know too little about ordinary police work, such as the laws and regulations on arrests and searches. This is according to a test done by the Inspectorate for Security and Justice on 361 police officers.

The inspectorate examined the ready knowledge of police officers in basic police work, focusing on the extent of the officers' knowledge on when they are allowed to do what, by asking the officers to complete a 39 question exam. 75 percent of the participants scored less than 75 percent on the exam. The average result was only 69 percent.

The inspectorate recommends that the Chief of Police provide a (re)training system that takes the need of the individual police officers in the basic police work into account and reflects the necessity of achieving a higher level of knowledge. For the Ministry of Security and Justice, the inspectorate recommend that they consider a formal mechanism to periodically test the police officers on their knowledge on basic police work and basic competencies, similar to the system for help prosecutors and special investigators.