Inspectorate: deployment of the police is hampered by working time regulations

The deployment of police officers at times when additional capacity is required is hampered by special provisions for the police in the regulations on work and rest periods. Adjusting those regulations to the Working Hours Act that applies to all employees will increase the flexibility of police deployability. This is evident from an investigation performed by the Public Order and Safety Inspectorate (OOV Inspectorate) into the National Working Hours Regulation (LAR) and the General Legal Status Police Decree (BARP), which was sent today to the Lower House by Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice.

For example, the maximum of 9 working hours to be scheduled, the number of Sundays off combined with a consecutive day off, and the introduction of the working hours regulation (4x9 hours) are the main bottlenecks in police deployment. Calculation models show, for example, that the supply of work can be performed by three persons, but that the provisions of, inter alia, the LAR mean that it has to be done by four persons. This creates a lot of bottlenecks, especially in the weekends. The Inspectorate argues that flexibility is considerably reduced by these types of regulations and it is consequently more difficult to balance capacity with the work to be performed.

The conclusions confirm the signals received by Opstelten from the police, and have been enumerated in the "Plan of Attack on Police Bureaucracy". Opstelten has asked the Board of Regional Police Force Managers to present its response to the findings of the OOV Inspectorate in the near future. The OOV Inspectorate data were obtained at two police forces. Opstelten will ask TNO to perform a broader investigation, so that a national overview can be created. Adjustment of the present regime will be inevitable if the follow-up investigation results in a similar image. At that time, he will consult with the police unions. Opstelten considers flexibility an essential aspect of a police organisation that has to be operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week to guarantee safe streets and neighbourhoods.