Overburdened police losing grip on neighborhoods, Inspectorate says
Community police officers overburdened with a myriad of other tasks are losing their grip on their neighborhood, according to the Inspectorate for Justice and Security. These officers have little to no time to invest in neighborhood contacts, resulting in little information to foresee problems and intervene before situations become really unsafe, the Inspectorate said after examining the police's approach to the four most common problems - undermining, people with disturbed behavior, problematic youth groups, and traffic.
"Well-informed community police officers can intervene in good time to prevent them from ending up in unsafe situations," the Inspectorate said. But this is increasingly impossible, especially in the larger cities and rural areas, as community officers are needed or other tasks like emergency assistance and helping people with disturbed behavior.
"This makes investing in the neighborhood and the problems at play there difficult. While the Security Agenda of the Ministry of Justice and Security includes goals for the police such as 'solid local anchoring' and 'a police that is in contact with all population groups'," the Inspectorate said.
According to the Inspectorate, if the Netherlands wants an effective police force, the Justice Minister, Public Prosecution Service and mayors need to decide what kind of police they require and be clear about what they expect from the force. "Now the police are moving from an organization that can prevent problems through contacts with all layers of the population to an organization that acts repressively when problems arise."
It will already help if reports of persons showing disturbed behavior reach the right care providers, the Inspectorate said, calling on the Justice Minister to discuss this with his colleagues at the Ministry of Public Health.