Non-existent supervision led to police works council's waste of public money: report

Non-existent supervision on police expenses from the police leadership and the Ministry of Security and Justice was one of the main factors that resulted in exorbitant spending by the National Police's Central Works Council (CWC), a committee led by Maarten Ruys concluded. For years the police leadership acted "insufficiently" against overruns on the CWC's budget, ANP reports.

The Ruys committee investigated the CWC expenses on behalf of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. The committee looked into the waste of public money, the role of former National Police chief Gerard Bouman and politicians in this affair, and into suspicions that the lax supervision on the CWC budget was used to "bribe" the CWC to support policy.

According to the committee, the budget overruns started as early as 2012. The Minister of Security and Justice only became aware of it in April 2016. But there were already numerous warnings from supervisors about the financial management of the entire police organization. Improvements were not a priority, the council concludes, according to the news wire.

Public money was irresponsibly wasted, according to the committee. The committee acknowledges that the police were under great pressure because of the reorganization into the National Police, but that is not a justification for the waste. 

Bouman received signals about the Central Works Council's excessive spending and irresponsible financial behavior, particularly concerning CWC chairman Frank Giltay, according to the committee. He called for frugality, but left it at that. However, the committee found no evidence that Bouman used his tolerant conduct to influence the CWC's most important advisory courses. 

Politicians are also to blame, according to the committee. The Minister and government wanted the various police forces to merge into one organization on a strict time schedule. This resulted in time pressure and financial pressure. Cutbacks had to be made. At the same time, financial management and the control thereof were not given priority - not within the police, but also not on political level, the committee concluded. 

Bouman himself paid hardly any attention to developing a sound financial system and supervision thereon. The committee also concluded that Bouman acted unprofessionally when he gave a personal loan to CWC chairman Giltay. 

This report was set to be presented a few months ago, but was postponed due to Bouman's death in July. Minister Stef Blok of Security and Justice sent the report to the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday. 

According to current National Police Chief Erik Akerboom, the most important conclusion in this report is that there is no evidence that the CWC's advice was influenced by Bouman. He added that he embraces the recommendations of the committee, ANP reports. According to Akerboom, the report largely agrees with conclusions made in previous internal investigations into this matter. He acknowledged that the CWC's finances, and supervision thereon, were not in order.

The police are already working on improvements in this area and are implementing measures to prevent future problems.