Small changes won't solve Police National Unit's problems; Complete overhaul required
The National Unit (LE) of the National Police must be completely overhauled. That is stated in an interim report by the Schneiders Committee, which is investigating the organization. A series of serious problems have surfaced at the National Unit in recent years.
"The Committee believes that the problems at the LE cannot be solved with limited interventions in the (organizational) structure, management, and culture," the committee wrote. "Supporting and improving the organization is not enough in the longer term."
According to the committee, the position of the National Unit within the police apparatus must be reviewed. In addition, the range of duties must be revised because it is too diverse. Greater efforts should also be made to collect data and information.
The current leadership culture also needs to change. "The traditional top-down leader with a strong personality has no future." According to the Committee, leaders must be open to cooperation, contradiction, and feedback.
The National Unit, with almost 6,000 employees, supports the regional forces but also has independent tasks like combating serious organized crime and terrorism. Schneiders thinks one of the problems is that the teams are too big. The human dimension is lost and must return.
Several investigations in recent years have uncovered problems at the LE. These included poor leadership, lack of professionalism, and lack of cooperation. Employees received insufficient support from their leadership or sometimes even felt unsafe within the organzation.
Last year, the Brouwer Committee still strongly criticized the Working Undercover team following the suicide of an undercover officer. The supervision of the officer was utterly inadequate. The professionalism of the team left much to be desired, the Brouwer Committee said.
Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius (Justice and Security) endorses the Schneiders Committee's conclusions that a different National Unit is needed than the one established ten years ago. She asked the chief of police to see how the National Unit could be organized differently.
The corps leadership and top of the National Unit "recognize themselves in the conclusions about the need for adjustments to the organization of the unit and its place in the police system, but also in the field of culture and leadership, among other things," they said in response.
The Schneiders Committee will publish its final recommendations before June.
Reporting by ANP