Police's incident-plagued National Unit to be split into two
The National Unit of the police will be split into two units, as per the recommendations of the Schneiders Committee, Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security informed parliament on Tuesday. The Ministry will also follow other recommendations and take measures to structurally change the work culture and leadership within the National Unit.
The Schneiders Committee, led by former mayor Bernt Schneiders, investigated the National Unit at the Ministry's request after a series of severe incidents over the past years. Three police officers in the undercover unit took their own lives. All of them were involved in conflicts at work. There were also reports of bullying and unsafe conditions in various other departments of the National Unit, including many complaints about leadership.
"In all the conversations we had, it became clear that police officers at the National Unit are extremely motivated to do their job well. This was not always possible due to the organizational structure," Schneiders said. "In particular, realizing a safe working environment must be tackled quickly. Leaders must be able to devote time and attention to all colleagues in their team."
One of the problems is that the National Unit's large amount of tasks is getting in the way of its proper functioning. It will therefore split into two units, one focused on the national investigation of organized crime and terrorism, and the other focused on national operations and expertise tasks.
This reorganization must also go hand-in-hand with work culture and leadership measures to improve the workplace. The committee recommended taking a careful look at the current leaders, calling it "inevitable" that there will be managers unable or unwilling to participate in the culture change. The committee also recommended explicitly formulating guidelines on what is and what is not desirable behavior and drawing up appropriate leadership profiles.
Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius adopted the committee's recommendation and instructed the chief of police to draw up a transition plan that will be ready by October 1. "Today, we offer the police employees clarity about the future of the National Unit. An important step towards an organization with more focus and a recognizable profile that can handle today's security issues," she said. "The police will work hard to change the organization and culture. I myself will remain closely involved, and I have asked the Schneiders committee to monitor this process."