Extra police officers for community and online policing, investigative capacity and BOAs
Thanks to a structural investment of 114.5 million euros, 700 officers will be added to the Dutch police for community and online policing. This follows from the motion by Member of Parliament Hermans that was adopted in the Lower House of Parliament this September during the parliamentary debate on the budget. In addition, 27 million euros will be invested to increase the investigative and prosecutorial capacity at the National Police Unit, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the judiciary. A further 25 million euros will be invested in special investigating officers (BOAs), along with 27.5 million euros to tackle sexual offences under the sexual offences bill and online child sexual abuse material.
This was stated by Minister Grapperhaus of Justice and Security in a letter to the Lower House of Parliament today. The structural investments in security in the motion of Member of Parliament Hermans are in addition to the additional funds for the broad offensive against subversive crime announced by the outgoing government on Budget Day, totalling 524 million euros in 2022, including 434 million on a structural basis for subsequent years. The fight against subversive crime requires a long-term effort, not only in dismantling criminal organisations and depriving them of illegally obtained goods and assets, but also to prevent people from getting involved with crime and young people from being recruited for criminal practices.
Community and online policing
A large part of the spending approved on the motion of Member of Parliament Hermans will go towards strengthening police presence in neighbourhoods and online.
‘Community outreach is one of the Dutch police's main strengths. Together with parents, schools and municipalities, the police officers in our neighbourhoods help ensure that our youth can grow up safely. This is how we prevent young people from being recruited into crime, and not only in our neighbourhoods. A lot of crime has shifted to the online domain. That is why we are also investing in more cybercrime officers to tackle online crime. ‘In a rapidly changing society, a broad police presence is more important than ever, both in our neighbourhoods and to ensure a safe social space online.’
said Minister Grapperhaus.
The 114.5 million euros will not only increase the number of community police and cybercrime officers by over 700 FTEs, but will also strengthen the training capacity at the Dutch Police Academy. In addition, the efforts to tackle discrimination and violence against the LGBTI+ community, including the ‘Police for Everyone’ programme, will be expanded through one-off funding.
The large impact of organised crime and the increasing use of modern technology are becoming ever more visible. To address this, additional investments will be made in the National Police Unit and other services to boost investigative capacity, including in the area of cybercrime. To this end, 20 million euros will go to the police, and the Public Prosecution Service and the judiciary will together receive 7 million euros.
Special investigating officers (BOAs)
Based on their monitoring and enforcement duties, our BOAs help to maintain law and order in our neighbourhoods, cities and rural areas together with the police. They know their local neighbourhoods and rural areas and are often the public’s first point of contact when there is a disturbance or when boundaries are crossed. Together with the police, BOAs are often the first officers on the scene and therefore sometimes find themselves in intense situations. To ensure that BOAs can continue to properly and safely do their work, a further 25 million euros will be invested in the training and development of BOAs and in their cooperation with the police. This autumn, Minister Grapperhaus will inform the Lower House of Parliament about a detailed review of the job description of BOAs and the BOA system.
Tackling sexual offences
Sex should always be consensual and between equal partners. That is the norm. Since taking office, Minister Grapperhaus of Justice and Security has, in consultation with the Lower House of Parliament, been working to modernise legislation so that the sexual offences defined in our Penal Code are brought more in line with changing social norms and the digital developments taking place in society. It is expected that this will result in an increase of the number of investigations of sexual offences. To make this possible and to move the sexual offences bill forward, 20 million euros will be made available on a structural basis, as well as a further 4 million euros specifically to increase police capacity. The integrated approach to tackling sexual abuse (online or otherwise) will be reinforced on a structural basis thanks to a total investment of 3.5 million euros, with 1.5 million euros going specifically to the Online Child Abuse Expertise Centre (EOKM).