New police tasks put investigation work at risk, mayors warn

Dutch police officers arrest a suspect
Dutch police officers arrest a suspectPhoto: Politie

Every new task given to the police puts a lot of other investigation work at risk, a group of mayors said in a letter to parliament. According to them, the fight against human trafficking and a range of other serious crimes is already coming under pressure, NOS reports.

After the murder of defense attorney Derk Wiersum in Amsterdam, the government announced a harsher approach to organized crime. This included a special team to investigate and tackle drug crimes, as well as extra protection for lawyers, judges, prosecutors and others involved in the legal system. All this required police officers, and came at the expense of other police tasks. 

According to mayor Hubert Bruls of Nijmegen, 150 police officers from the Oost-Nederland police are now assisting their colleagues in Amsterdam in tackling drug crime. Bruls calls it unacceptable that the Oost-Nederland police are losing people, because they are already understaffed and multiple police stations in the unit are at risk of closing. If the government wants to keep giving the police new tasks, they will have to make other sacrifices - like no longer using police officers at football matches, he said as an example.

Rotterdam is also losing police officers to new tasks. "We cannot explain this to our residents", mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said in the letter to parliament, according to NOS. "We ask you to be careful of a further increase in priorities that require extra police capacity. We also urge you to quickly come up with structural measures to increase police strength. We and our police are close to drowning."