Millions pushed into fighting crime that undermines society had little effect
It is unclear whether the millions of euros the Dutch government pushed into fighting undermining crime had any effect. Over the past years, the government allocated 916 million euros to 163 projects to fight this form of subversive crime. But none of these projects had a measurable result, a joint study by Investico, Follow the Money, Argo, and De Groene Amsterdammer concluded.
Since 2017, the government launched a “carousel” of projects, task forces, and work meetings, the researchers said. But five years later, not even the Ministry of Justice and Security can say which projects are still ongoing, which have flopped, and what they cost. Projects overlap, and funds have been shuffled to such an extent that nothing is clear anymore, the researchers concluded from documents received through an appeal to the Open Government (Public Access) Act.
The largest and most expensive project is the Multidisciplinary Intervention Team (MIT), established in 2019 by then Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus after the murder of Amsterdam defense lawyer Derk Wiersum. The project cost 160 million euros but never became operational. It never left “The Hague drawing board,” the researchers said.
According to the researchers, people involved warned from early on that the MIT would not be a success, but their criticism got ignored. Other police departments worried that their specialists would be recruited away for this team, which happened to some extent. But Jan Struijs of the police union NPB heard from these new MIT members that they had no work and fulfilled their old duties just so they didn't sit around with nothing to do.
Struijs and professor of Security Bob Hoogenboom blamed the failure of the MIT on a lack of vision, endless bureaucracy, and a Minister more focused on image than content.
Earlier this year, Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security intervened at the MIT. According to her, too little was happening because there was too much talk. She transferred some of the team’s tasks to other police units and renamed it the National Cooperation against Subversive Crime (NSOC).