Give police more money to fight radicalization, say Dutch mayors

The mayors of ten large cities are calling on the government to make sure the National Police has enough money for their preventive approach in neighborhoods to stop radicalization in young people. In an opinion piece in the Volkskrant on Thursday they write that the police "squeaks and creaks" and something needs to be done.

Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, the Netherlands got much praise for their approach in using police officers as feelers in society. Some experts even stated that the fact that there hasn't been a terrorist attack in the Netherlands so far, can be partly attributed to this preventative approach, according to the newspaper. The mayors want to government to make sure that the police can continue with this duty.

"The community officers officers sniff out what happened and what is going to happen on the street", Utrecht mayor Jan van Zanen said in the Volkskrant. "Especially when it comes to terrorism, the latter is of course of the utmost importance. The community officer is not a magician and also not a guarantee that there will never be an attack, but these men and women are indispensable in our deradicalization policy. They are the first to hear what's going on, from entrepreneurs, mosque managers, teachers and informed residents."

The mayors foresee that previous cutbacks in the police budgets will create a structural shortage of police officers. They worry that the police will not be able to meet the agreed upon standard of at least one neighborhood officer for every 5 thousand residents.

Erik Akkerboom, sworn in as the new chief of the National Police on Wednesday, is also calling for more money. According to him, the police organization is facing structural under-funding. "It can not go on like this. It is a political choice to keep the police force up to standard and I insist on clarity", he said at the ceremony in the Ridderzaal in The Hague.

Mayor Jozias van Aartsen of The Hague was also at the ceremony and spoke on behalf of the ten mayors. "Police work is becoming increasingly complex and challenging. It requires investment", he said, according to NOS. "The attacks in Brussels teach us how important it is to have a good information position in the neighborhoods. It is an illusion that the police can manage with fewer people."

Earlier this week a leaked report that the police needs another 250 thousand to 300 thousand euros in order to complete its reorganization into the National Police.