309 cops faced disciplinary action last year, 68 for information misuse
Last year the police launched 530 disciplinary investigations into possible breach of duty by 499 police officers. 309 of them faced disciplinary action, including 68 for the "improper use of information", such as leaking police information to third parties, or making private use of police info, the police said in a statement.
The number of disciplinary investigations at the police was slightly lower in 2019 than the year before, when there were 548 investigations against 518 cops. The 309 disciplinary measures implemented last year ranged from an official reprimand, to withholding wages or leave, to dismissal. A total of 150 cops were dismissed last year, 9 at their own request. In 2018 a total of 119 officers were dismissed, and 121 in 2017.
The number of officers reprimanded for the improper use of information has remained more or less stable over the past few years, the police said. But making sure officers are careful with confidential information, remains a major concern. "Police officers have daily access access to valuable information. That is extremely useful for their work, but there is also 'danger' in that special position. Working with sensitive data can become so ordinary that its value is underestimated," said Lonneke Soudant, head of Security, Integrity and Complaints at the police.
According to Soudant, the most "leaks" do not involve deliberately sharing confidential information with criminals. Inattention and lack of awareness is usually behind confidential information ending up where it should not. The police will therefore launch an internal campaign to make sure officers are always alert with the information they work with.
Another form of improper use of information is officers checking the police station for a celebrity, or their daughter's boyfriend, Soudant said. This is illegal and will be dealt with in a disciplinary manner.
The last category is leaking to criminals. "To improve our understanding of such cases, we are continuing this year to develop a system that identifies remarkable searches by employees."