Dutch police face 600 million euros budget shortage
The police are missing at least 600 million euros to tackle its capacity problem, says police chief Henk van Essen. “And even then, we cannot meet all expectations.”
He is feverishly advocating for more police officers. “Our visibility in the neighborhood must improve. People want to know their local police officers and be known.” According to van Essen, local police officers are the backbone of the police, but this is being eroded.
The 600 million shortage was reported in an investment agenda in which the police, the Public Prosecution Service OM, and the Ministry of Justice and Security set out financial plans for the upcoming year.
Part of the sum has been reserved for an extra one thousand officers, which the police need to strengthen their base teams. Another 500 officers will be required for special criminal investigations.
More officers are necessary to remain well-represented in the neighborhoods on the one hand and to become more digitally skilled on the other. According to Van Essen, the police must continue to build bridges, both on the street and online. “The police keep talking to everyone. And when there are tensions, the police will identify them early on.”
He points out the rising threat of cybercrime. It is, therefore, necessary to increase the knowledge of the police force in this field. A study commissioned by the police force management finds that the average level of digital expertise needs to go up.
The police want to invest 300 million euros in innovation and digital training. For example, to secure their own systems against cyber-attacks or to provide digital support for police work to be more efficient on the street.
Van Essen is thus urging the state to financial support. “An ad hoc policy is undesirable. From the intention to scrap three thousand positions within the police force to having to train another thousand more police officers within three years. As a result, we are lagging behind,” he says.