Authorities: Cut to forensic investigation budget is criminal

VVD politician Ard van der Steur (photo: VVD/Matthijs Idema)VVD politician Ard van der Steur (photo: VVD/Matthijs Idema)

Cuts to the budget for forensic investigation work is dramatic to the point it may hamper future criminal investigations, and defeat the government’s efforts on security, warns the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), the police department and the Public Prosecutor in an internal memo acquired by newswire ANP. It is not the first time law enforcement raised concerns about a 13 percent cut to the NFI budget, which will cost nearly 80 jobs.

If 60 of those jobs are not restored at a cost of about six million euro, Security and Justice Minister Ard van der Steur will be forced to reduce his expectations for security in the Netherlands, the three agencies agree. The cuts will cause fourteen areas of expertise to be hit hard, including fingerprint analysis, gunshot residue, and weapons and ammunition investigations.

Criminologists and opposition parties all joined the call against the budget cuts before they were approved by the ruling coalition.

Minister van der Steur has responded to the internal note of the three agencies saying that the public prosecutor and police should themselves determine matters of priority adding that the NFI is already acting more efficiently. Van den Steur said on NPO’s Radio 1 program “The Morning” that resources are not unlimited and that they need to look at ways money may best be employed.

The NFI will always have a problem filling a flood of requests received by investigative agencies, he said in the Monday interview.