Respect, appreciation and authority for the police

Minister of Security and Justice Opstelten, together with mayor Faber (on behalf of the Council of Police Force Managers), Mr Kuijs (chairman of the Board of Chief Constables), today received the report entitled "Authority, appreciation and respect for the police". The report has been drawn up by "the Senior Police Management". Representatives of the police unions, the Council of Police Force Managers, the Board of Chief Constables, the Ministry of Security and Justice and partners from the field of security and science are involved in the Senior Police Management. The report shows that most Dutch citizens recognise the authority of the police and have appreciation and respect for the police. Most police officers experience this as being the case. Minister Opstelten expressed his appreciation for the report and aims for further improvement of the position of the police in Dutch society.

The Senior Police Management furthermore concludes in its report that the position of the Dutch police is a special one that must be cherished. The police is located among the citizens, is close and accessible, and has authority. For Minister Opstelten, this position is the starting point when forming the national police. He is in favour of stronger local embedding and contacts with citizens. Initiatives such as Burgernet are of great value, because they provide a wealth of information concerning safety at the local level.

The report recommends raising the average age of police officers on the streets, because this will benefit the authority of the police on the streets. Minister Opstelten wants more room for the expertise and professionalism of the police officer on the streets. He endorses the conclusions of the Senior Police Management and will announce his plan of attack against bureaucracy at the police in January. Using this plan of attack, he intends to reduce the administrative burden by 25 percent, so that more experienced police officers will also spend more time on the streets and less time behind their desks.

Another conclusion from the report is that both citizens and police personnel have the idea that police is assessed on the basis of rather one-dimensional objectives in terms of, for example, numbers of tickets or percentages of solved cases. The perception has arisen that the police is trying to achieve quota at all costs. This is at the expense of appreciation, respect and authority. The investigators therefore argue for a more intelligent system of management. Minister Opstelten agrees that this perception has arisen and has therefore already abolished the ticket quota policy. He is adverse to numbers as an objective in themselves.