Minister Opstelten visits special investigating shop officer pilot in Roermond

Minister Opstelten today visits the municipality of Roermond to speak about the introduction of special investigating shop officers. Roermond is one of the municipalities that is involved in the special investigating shop officers pilot. In the past months, Roermond has assessed subject to which conditions special investigating officers can be deployed to deal with simple shop theft and has consulted with the shop owners involved. All manner of aspects were taken into consideration (including the safety of the special investigating officers, the need for training, costs, return, working agreements with the police etc.). The first special investigating shop officers are expected to hit the streets of Roermond in October.

Special investigating shop officers are municipal investigating officers who are authorised to take action in the event of simple shop theft. In such situations, the special investigating officers can take over certain acts normally performed by the police. It concerns, for example, taking the report, hearing witnesses and checking camera images, drawing up an official report, searching suspects, transporting the suspect to the police station and transferring the suspect to the police.

The aim of the pilot is to increase shop owner satisfaction with the handling of shop theft. It is intended to increase the willingness to submit a report to the police, while this should not create an increase in the administrative burden for the police. A condition is the deployment of special investigating shop officers has to be feasible for municipalities from an organisational, financial and practical perspective. Participating municipalities will have limited powers for investigating shop theft. This only applies to shop theft of goods of limited value and involving a first-time offender.

Minister Opstelten is of the opinion that enforcement by special investigating officers is becoming increasingly important to local and regional safety in the Netherlands. Special investigating officers are authorised to deal with a wide range of offences. The Minister intends to grant special investigating officers more extensive powers that should be accompanied by an improvement in the quality of said enforcement. The special investigating shop officers pilot fits in perfectly with these plans. The findings of this pilot will therefore have to show to what extent expansion of the powers of the special investigating officers to include the duties of special investigating shop officers is justified.