Minister Opstelten: allowances for chiefs of police unjustified in 8 cases

In 8 cases, police commissioners or deputy police commissioners have received allowances that do not comply with the regulations. Minister of Security and Justice Opstelten writes this in a letter to the Lower House in which he responds to the investigation of the State Audit Department (RAD) into remunerations, allowances and expense claims of chiefs of police in 2008 and 2009. In connection with the report, Minister Opstelten wants to simplify and cut back the fringe benefits of the chiefs of police.

In his response Minister Opstelten states explicitly that allowances that do not conform to the regulations should not have occurred in the first place. There is also no room for ancillary benefits to police force managers. Such allowances damage the integrity and prestige of the police profession.

The investigation report of the RAD, which was sent to the Lower House in May 2010, showed that most of the remunerations, allowances and expense claims of the chiefs of police are in accordance with the regulations. In a limited number of cases the benefits did not conform to the rules. In the past period, the findings of the report have been submitted to the police force managers concerned. In 16 cases, the police force manager could sufficiently justify the allowance after all. In six other cases a justification could also be given, but the basis of the allowance proved to be wrong. These decisions have now been reversed and corrected, so that any conflict with the regulations has been eliminated.

In 8 cases Minister Opstelten has concluded that there is no justification for the allowances. In one of these cases, the police force manager concerned has decided to stop this allowance. It concerns an allowance to cover the costs of childcare. In 5 of these cases it concerns an on-going allowance for representation expenses in excess of the set standard. The police force managers concerned have indicated that they share the opinion of the Minister. They will see to it that these allowances will cease immediately. In two other cases it concerns allowances granted in the past, namely an allowance for double housing costs and a compensation for taxation. As announced recently, the Minister has also investigated whether the unjustified allowances can be reclaimed. Based on statutory reclamation criteria and the associated case law the Minister had to conclude that recovering the unjustified allowances through court action is hardly feasible. For that reason the Minister has decided not to request the police force managers concerned to proceed to reclamation.

The results of the RAD report also gave Minister Opstelten reason to adjust the fringe benefits of the chiefs of police. The Minister will soon make proposals for a concise employment terms policy, which will minimize separate income components (fringe benefits) as much as possible. Police force managers should also have no more room for the allocation of ancillary benefits. In addition, the Minister will propose a code of conduct for chiefs of police travelling abroad on duty. The Minister will discuss the proposals with the police force managers and the trade unions in the near future.