Police chief Gerard Bouman announces resignation

Charlie Hebdo Rally 3
Amsterdam Mayor Eberhart van der Laan, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Police Chief Gerard Bouman and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten at the Charlie Hebdo rally in Dam Square. Jan 9, 2015 (photo: NL Times / Zack Newmark). Amsterdam Mayor Eberhart van der Laan, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Police Chief Gerard Bouman and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten at the Charlie Hebdo rally in Dam Square. Jan 9, 2015 (photo: NL Times / Zack Newmark)

The Netherlands national police superintendent, Gerard Bouman, has announced this intention to resign his position effective February 1, 2016. In his time as Chief, Bouman was entrusted with the mammoth centralised re-organisation task of converting 26 regional police forces into one unified National Police Force.

This caused tension between himself and police unions with two-thirds of officers believing that services to citizens had deteriorated since the start of the project, while his interference in police operations has become an irritation.

"In my 45-year career and especially during my five years as top management of our corps, I faced many difficult decisions," Bouman said in a statement. He added that this decision was the hardest of his career.

This voluntary resignation has come as no surprise to many who feel that, as of late, Bouman has had an increasingly difficult time competing against resistance from his own organisation and police unions regarding his policies. Security and Justice Minister Ard van der Steur criticised Bouman saying that “more realism” was needed in merging the police forces, highlighting four major flaws in the re-organisation.

Specifically, Van Der Stur cited insecurity among staff, lack of expertise, too much change too quickly, and faltering control. This is a markedly different relationship than that shared by Bouwman and former Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.

Bouman's successor has yet to be named.

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