Labour might vote "no" on justice budget over inconsistent police budgeting

The PvdA will vote against the government's justice budget if Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security does not structurally commit extra money to fighting organized crime, labour parliamentarian and justice spokesperson Attje Kuiken said to NPO Radio 1 program 1 op 1.

On Thursday morning, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom called for more consistent policy and funding for the police. "You cannot sustain and manage the rule of law without more constant financing of the rule of law", he said in an interview with the Volkskrant, calling politicians "too fickle" and denouncing the "up and down policy" the police have been facing. Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb (PvdA) also recently said that 500 million euros is needed to effectively tackle drug trafficking.

PvdA MP Kuiken agrees with the police chief wholeheartedly. She is tired of the government's policy of "promising and pushing forward, but not going through" in the fight against criminality that structurally undermines society and organized crime. "There is 10 billion euros in the treasury, but Minister Grapperhaus does not deliver", she said. "If budgets do not deliver enough, then we will vote against it."

"You must offer long-term security to the financing of the police organization", Kuiken said on the radio program. Minister Grapperhaus promised a one-off amount of 100 million euros against undermining crime. The PvdA wants that amount to be structural. "Structural 100 million euros is a prerequisite, otherwise I cannot take the Minister seriously."

According to Kuiken, Grapperhaus is not backing up his promises with actions. "I miss urgency. You can't emotionally says that everything needs to be tackled, while you don't come up with legislation and extra money." Something has to change in the fight against organized crime, she said. "If not, we will take action ourselves as an opposition party. Then we'll have to make an initiative bill with one and a half chicken and a horse's head."

The PvdA is one of the opposition parties that can help get the government's plans through the Senate, where the coalition does not have a seat majority. Earlier this week the party also threatened to vote against the government's tax plan and education budget.