Minister Opstelten: formation national police force on course

Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice intends to convert the current 26 police forces into a single national police force in the shortest possible term. Expediency is required to limit the consequences for the daily duties of the police and at the same time improve the performance and strength of the police. The preparations for the national police force should be completed at the end of this year. If the new Police Act is adopted by the States General, the new police force can commence operations on 1 January 2012. No irreversible steps will be taken until that time. This is contained in the Implementation Programme Formation National Police Force that Minister Opstelten sent to the Lower House today.

The Minister will appoint the coordinator who will arrange the preparations for the national police force by 1 May at the latest. The existing regional police forces, the National Police Services Agency, the Dutch Police Collaboration Facility and all other supra-regional facilities will be incorporated in a single national police force, which will consist of ten regional units and one or more national operational units and a national service for supporting operational duties. The coordinator is also the intended chief of the national police force. The other coordinators for the national police force management will be appointed as of 1 May as well. The coordinators for the regional units [and] the national units will be appointed by 1 July at the latest. The national police force coordinator works on the instructions of Minister Opstelten. As chief of police, he reports to the Minister also after the national police force commences operations.

The national police force organisation will be built up step by step. As of 1 January 2012, senior management and the supporting services of the national police forces will be adjusted. In addition, the supra-regional duties and the duties of the National Police Services Agency will be realigned. Initially, the basic units and the criminal investigators will not be involved in order to burden the daily duties of the police to the least extent possible. The formation of the national police force means that overheads can be cut by 25 percent. The senior management of the Dutch police will also be reduced from 100 to approximately 30 positions.

The construction of the Police Services Centre, in which the supporting operational duties, such as IT, accommodation and procurement, of the regional and national units are housed, will start on 1 January 2012 at the latest. Even before the formation of the national police force, namely on 1 May, Minister Opstelten will take over control of the current Dutch Police Collaboration Facility (VtsPN) from the police force managers. Before taking over control, the financial and operational risks of the IT file will first have to be identified.

In order to make the job of policeman attractive once again and to improve police performance, measures will be implemented, simultaneously with the introduction of the national police force, which will increase the ability of the police to take decisive action. For example, the Plan of Attack Bureaucracy will clear away unnecessary regulations and simplify the work of police officers on the streets.

Agreements have already been made with the police force managers and the president of the Board of Procurators General concerning the transition to the national police force. The intended regional mayors for the ten regions will be designated in May. The regional mayor is the mayor of the municipality with the largest number of inhabitants in one of the ten regional units. The regional mayors will have an important role in establishing the regional policy plan in which agreements will be made concerning the approach to crime and the deployment of the police. The position of the municipal councils and the mayors in safety policy will be further strengthened.