Report: Station shutdown to cause slow response, poor police work

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Closing 200 police stations will lead to slower response times and will compromise regular police work on the streets. This is because it will take officers significantly longer to take an arrested suspect to a police station or detention center, The Security and Justice Inspectorate warns in a report sent to the lower house of parliament this week, Dutch newspaper AD reports.

In the coming years the National Police will shut down about 200 of the 400 police stations in the Netherlands. In many places full stations will disappear completely, to be replaced by support points - a desk or small office where citizens can report crimes or speak to a police officer. This means a significant reduction in places where suspects can be detained.

The Inspectorate therefore warns that it will take officers much longer to get an arrested suspect to a place where he can be kept in custody, especially in rural areas. In Noord-Nederland suspects must be transported to the detention center in Groningen. "When an emergency unit brings a prisoner from Stadskanaal to Groningen, the unit will be on the way for at least two hours and can not be used for other duties, such as surveillance", according to the Inspectorate.

The Inspectorate also writes that officers often feel unsafe when they have a prisoner in the car. Regular police cars are not equipped with a partition that separates the backseat and the driver. Every now and then an officer is spit on or even attacked by the suspect in the back seat.

The National Police told the newspaper that they know about this problem. "At the moment we are investigating how the traffic flows and if that can be more efficient", a spokesperson said.

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