Plan of attack police on bureaucracy: fewer rules, more time on the streets

Police officers on the street will have to carry out fifty percent less paperwork during this government's term in office. Fewer forms, better information systems and cancelling unnecessary rules and protocols means that police officers will have more time for actual police work: fighting crime and nuisance on the streets. The introduction of a national report tracking system and direct settlement of frequent cases will ensure that citizens are helped better and faster.

This is included in the plan of attack Fewer rules, more time of the streets, which Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice today sent to the Lower House. Minister Opstelten, together with the police and the Public Prosecution Service, takes up the battle against the increasingly excessive regulations at the police. The administrative burden at the police must be reduced by 25 percent during the present government's term in office. Fewer rules and more personal responsibility lead to more enjoyment of work for police officers and a safer society.

The plan of attack provides that the working methods of the police will be changed drastically. A great deal of deskwork that is currently still carried out by operational police officers will be taken over by administrative support staff. This means that police officers will spend an additional 1.5 hours on the streets during their shifts. Police officers on the streets are in direct contact with support staff at the police stations. A pilot at the Hollands Midden regional police force shows that, with a modest expansion of the number of support staff, police officers on the streets have to carry out fifty percent less paperwork. Minister Opstelten therefore intends to introduce this working method at all police forces in 2012.

The large volume of paperwork at the police and the Public Prosecution Service will be changed. More than 100 rules and instructions will be assessed as to whether they can be cancelled or simplified. The police currently spends a great deal of time supplying reports to, for example, municipalities and ministries. The quantity of the so-called accountability information will be reduced by 25 percent before the end of the year. Minister Opstelten also wants all police forces to reduce their annual reports to two pages A4 format.

Faster settlement of common offences should also result in significant time saved for the police and Public Prosecution Service. The plan of attack provides that in 2015 two-thirds of simple criminal cases should be settled within one month. The immediate settlement of simple criminal cases will be started in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Eindhoven before the summer. At the same time, the so-called ability of the police to catch criminals in the act will be increased, which means that suspects will be arrested more quickly following a notification or report. Faster arrests lead to fewer transfers and less bureaucracy. An appeal is made to citizens to immediately call 1-1-2 if they observe an offence. It will also become easier to file a report with the police. The introduction of a national report tracking system means that citizens are able to check the status of their report at any time using the internet.

Other measures from the plan of attack include:

  • There will be a new and simplified official report for juveniles. The form will be reduced from 7 to 3 pages.
  • The Basic Provision Enforcement, the information system of the police, will become more user-friendly. Police officers will consequently spend less time entering data.
  • The paper flow within the criminal justice chain will be further digitised. This saves the police a great deal of copying in the short term.
  • Kilometre logs for police vehicles will be reduced to a minimum.

The plan of attack furthermore provides that new policy measures will be explicitly tested for the consequences for bureaucracy at the police. The introduction of the National Police also contributes to the reduction of the administrative burden. The Minister will have a zero-measurement performed in order to ensure that the plan of attack actually delivers results. According to the Minister, the plan of attack is a first offensive against bureaucracy. It is mainly up to operational police officers themselves to continue to provide solutions in the fight against the administrative burden.