Total leadership change needed at incident-plagued Dutch national police unit: Report
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The entire leadership of the police's National Unit needs to change, the Schneiders Committee said in a yet-to-be-published report on a series of severe incidents in the unit. The committee called it "inevitable" that some old-school police chiefs must resign, sources told RTL Nieuws. The report will be published on Thursday.
The committee, led by former mayor Bernt Schneiders, recommends dividing the National Unit into two parts. One part should consist of the specialized departments like Guarding and Security, the Infra service, and the mounted police. The other part should be the National Investigation Unit, focused on hunting organized crime.
In addition to this reorganization, the committee wants to break through the “socially unsafe work culture” at the National Unit. Police officers don’t feel heard or supported by the leadership of several departments. And this unhealthy atmosphere resulted in dramatic incidents over the past few years.
For example, three police officers in the Specialist Operation Service, which includes the undercover department, took their own lives in the past few years. Police officers in the counter-terrorism department CTER warned that understaffing and unprofessionalism are endangering the fight against terrorism. Officers said mistrust is putting the police's international information network at risk, something the Justice Inspectorate is also concerned about.
The Schneiders Committee insists that the old leadership style in the National Unit must change. There must be more diversity in the leadership, and superior officers must listen more to those who work under them. It is “inevitable” that not all existing police chiefs will be able to work in the changing environment, so the committee advised reserving funds for eventual redundancies.