Minister Opstelten sends decision on the redistribution of the police budget to the Lower House
Between 2011 and 2015 a total of 21 police forces will receive additional funds. This is the result of a reallocation of the police budget and the deployment of additional funds based on the coalition agreement. The government will invest 300 to 370 million euros in the police to finance a structural operational workforce of 49,500 fte. As a result of the reallocation four police forces will be given a lower budget. The reallocation of the police budget is based on a reassessment of the need for police care in the country. In addition, the reallocation must support the objectives of the coalition agreement, such as improving the arrival times in urban and non-urban districts. Minister of Security and Justice Opstelten wrote this in a letter that was sent to the Lower House today.
At the beginning of last year a steering group of representatives of police force managers, chiefs of police and several ministries made proposals for a better and more transparent distribution of funds and staff across the country. Under the former distribution additional work for police forces along the border and the workload of core municipalities were not sufficiently taken into account. After consultations with the police force managers Minister Opstelten has decided to adopt the proposals. On some points the Minister departs from the recommendations. For instance, the police forces with a lower budget will get more time to cope with the budget-drop. It concerns 1.5 per cent annually for a period of four years. In this way the Minister wants to limit the adverse effects for these police forces. The decision of the government to reserve additional funds for the police also minimizes the consequences of the redistribution.
The reassessment of the budget allocation system should also stop the imbalance between the allocation of funds and the distribution of human resources across the police forces. The total number of staff, for instance, is currently higher than agreed with the former government. This is one of the reasons why some police forces were placed under preventive financial supervision in the past few years. In 2010 this concerned 13 police forces. The vast majority of the police forces under supervision will lose that status.
The reallocation of the police budget will impact on the staffing level of the various police forces. Most of the police forces that receive additional funds will also increase their staffing levels in the years to come. Eight police forces that receive a higher budget have already expanded their workforce in the past years in anticipation of this reassessment. Therefore, they must now step down in number. Three police forces (Kennemerland, Amsterdam-Amstelland and Haaglanden) must step down in both budget and number. This reduction is realized through natural wastage. There will be no forced redundancy. As a result of the reassessment the police budget will be divided over the country as well as possible in the years to come. In view of the implementation of the national police it is important, according to Minister Opstelten, that clarity will finally be provided about the budgets and the associated operational strength.