Dutch cops still work too long, irregular shifts: Report

Police officers on the street
Police officers on the streetPhoto: Politie

Dutch police officers still work far too long and irregular shifts, despite promises by the corps leadership to improve matters, ANP reports based on reports from the police and the Inspectorate for Social Affairs and Employment.

Last year the police violated the Labor Times Act a massive 244 thousand times. But as the police can make exceptions if important police tasks are under pressure, the number of 'actual' violations amounted to 100,417 - a slight improvement to the 103,244 violations in 2015. The police units with the most violations are the National Police with almost 24 thousand, the Oost-Nederland unit with almost 19,500, the Amsterdam Unit with almost 14 thousand and the Rotterdam unit at 12 thousand violations.

Inspectorate reports show that various police units were fined in 2015 for various violations. Night shifts were too long, rest periods weren't respected and the number of days worked in a row were sometimes much higher than allowed. At the DSI special unit, shifts of more than 12 hours were customary. And at the surveillance and security service DBB, which is responsible for guarding the Royal family and threatened politicians like Geert Wilders, the inspectorate found work weeks of up to 70 hours and shifts of up to 20 hours. 

In 2013 he corps leadership promised improvement, setting a goal of no violations by the end of 2015. In practice that proved to be impossible. The police's tasks were extended in the mean time due to the terrorism threat and the massive influx of asylum seekers in 2015. "We aim to set up our schedules so that they comply to the Labor Time Act. But in practice there is the fact that police officers are being deployed in the event of calamities", a police spokesperson commented to ANP.