Former chief quits as police adviser over high salary controversy

Former police chief commissioner in Amsterdam Bernard Welten is resigning from the National Police, the Ministry of Security and Justice confirmed. This follows controversy over his high salary. Welten earned about 255 thousand euros per year - much higher than the 179 thousand euros Ministers earn per year as well as the 148 thousand euros National Police Chief Erik Akerboom earned last year, AD and ANP report.

Welten's annual salary of 255 thousand euros is the same as what he received when he stepped down as chief commissioner in 2011. After he stepped down, he remained at the police as an extraordinary adviser. According to ANP, legally Welten is entitled to this compensation. 

In 2013, then Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten asked Welten to agree to his salary being lowered, but he refused, according to ANP. The Justice Minister who followed Opstelten, Ard van der Steur, also made a moral appeal to Welten to give up some of his income on a voluntary basis. Now current Justice Minister Stef Blok invited Welten to come discuss his compensation.

In that discussion it was agreed that Welten will be offered honorary discharge from March 1st next year, according to a letter from the Ministry. That's four years earlier than his planned retirement. This will save the police about 700 thousand euros, is explained in the letter, according to AD. 

Welten will continue to do advisory work for the police for another three years, but only for three days a month. For this he will be paid a legal hourly rate. As compensation for pension loss, Welten will receive a once-off amount of 15 thousand euros. He is also buying the part of his property that is owned by the police. 

The number of top-earners at the police continues to rise, AD reports. Last year 24 police officers received an annual salary higher than 179 thousand euros. In 2015 there were seven such cops. Earlier this year, the police leadership announced that they are not happy with these massive salaries and that the corps leadership holds closely to the Standardization Top Income Law, which states that people in certain functions are not allowed to earn more than a Minister's salary. But this law only applies to members of the corps leadership.