Coronavirus-related enforcement cost police €44 million in overtime
Police officers worked a total of 800,000 hours of overtime last year managing coronavirus-related riots, demonstrations, and enforcing measures. That cost the police about 44 million euros, AD reports based on the police's annual report.
The overtime hours cost over 37 million euros. The other 7 million euros went to allowances for the riot police, which had to be deployed much more often than usual.
Increased demand for security after crime reporter Peter R. De Vries was assassinated also led to overtime last year, police chief Henk van Essen said to NOS. And the extra effort came at the expense of normal police work. "We know about delayed medical care, but I'm talking about deferred policing here."
Police officers were less visible in neighborhoods and on the streets. That's concerning because the police have "fewer feelers in society, and that is a core strength of the Dutch police," Van Essen said to the broadcaster. He thinks this also played a role in the record number of calls to emergency number 112 last year. "If we are visible in the neighborhood, I think things will get out of hand less. That visibility also has a preventive effect."
To work away those overtime hours, the police must focus on solving its staff shortages, specifically in the basic teams. "The most important task is to fill the vacancies we have. The labor market is getting tighter, but our classes are still full,' Van Essen said. "Training for the police takes two years, so we will be very busy for the next two years."