Dutch police can't keep up with terrorism tips from abroad


The Dutch police service responsible for international information exchange is facing serious staff shortages and a failing computer system, sources within the international legal aid center LIRC said to newspaper AD. The officers working in the service fear that they are missing critical tips on terrorism, according to AD.

Five years ago the service received around 166 thousand requests for legal aid from abroad. Now they receive about 250 thousand a year, partly due to the increasing terrorism threat. Meanwhile the number of staff working for the team barely increased. The team is currently 150 people strong. But at least another 100 people are needed, the service said to the newspaper.

As a result the team is behind in processing 3,900 requests for legal aid and 5,800 requests to do with missing persons, according to the newspaper. A police source told the newspaper that the information is always ordered by importance, but it is not always immediately clear how important certain information is. "That we do not know what information we let lie frustrates people, especially with the El Bakraoui case in mind."

The officer was referring to the El Bakraoui brothers who committed suicide attacks at the airport in Brussels last year. It was later revealed that they traveled to Brussels through Turkey and the Netherlands. The Dutch police received a tip about them from the FBI six days before the attack.

A member of the police leadership told AD that requests involving serious crimes and terrorism always get priority. And they are working on improving the LIRC's computer system.