National Police Unit to be reformed

The National Police Unit is to be transformed into two separate units: one focusing on national operations and expertise and one focusing on national detection activities. In addition, measures will be implemented to structurally change the working and leadership culture within the organisation. These reforms were announced by Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius in response to the recommendations issued by the Advisory Committee for the National Unit chaired by Bernt Schneiders.

Last year, the minister instructed the committee to issue recommendations in order to resolve persistent problems within the National Unit and to evaluate the need for repositioning of the National Unit within the current police system.

'In all of the discussions that we held, it was clear that the police officers in the National Unit are highly motivated to do their job as effectively as possible', says committee chair Bernt Schneiders.

'However, the current organisational structure didn't always allow for this. Ensuring a safe working environment is a particularly urgent issue, and supervisors must be able to devote time and attention to the people in their team.'

'Today, we are giving police officers a clear picture of the National Unit's future', says Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius. 'This is a vital step towards achieving an optimally focused organisation with a more recognisable profile and the ability to tackle modern security issues. The police will work hard to achieve the necessary organisational and cultural change. I will remain closely involved in this process and I have asked the Schneiders Committee to monitor this process.'  

'The changes to the National Unit affect everyone involved in the police system', explains Chief Officer Henk van Essen. 'After all, every unit will benefit from more effective new national units and will work together intensively with the national units. The changes to the National Unit effectively mark a new phase in the National Police reforms initiated in 2013.'

Moving towards two units

The immense volume of tasks vested in a single unit is currently hindering the effectiveness of the National Unit. The current organisation of the National Unit means that staff potential is being insufficiently realised and that the human element and staff welfare are being somewhat overlooked. In addition, modern security threats such as organised subversive crime and terrorism demand national units with greater knowledge, skills and focus. For this reason, the committee recommends separating the National Unit into two national units, each of which will handle a distinctive range of related tasks. One unit will focus on national operations and expertise, while the other will focus on national detection of serious types of organised crime and terrorism.

Change of working culture and leadership

The new organisational structure must also be accompanied by measures to boost working culture and leadership as well as implementing improvements in the workplace. For this reason, the committee recommends formulating explicit policy on desirable and undesirable conduct, establishing appropriate leadership profiles and examining the current leadership. The committee notes that some members of the current leadership will inevitably be unwilling or unable to adapt to this cultural change and the new style of leadership.

Organisational development

The committee also advises the Chief Officer to set up two national units that are flexible, data-driven and encourage innovation and professional development. In addition, the committee recommends setting up a strategic consultative body to ensure effective positioning of the public prosecutors in relation to the national detection unit. Furthermore, the committee recommends boosting the insight of the National Consultation on Security and the Police (LOVP) into both national units.


The minister will adopt these recommendations and has instructed the Chief Officer to formulate a transitional plan, which will be completed by 1 October 2022. The minister has also asked the Schneiders Committee to monitor the changes stemming from the transitional plan over the course of the next year.