Legislative proposal for a national police force sent to the Upper House

Upon recommendation by Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice, the Council of Ministers has agreed to submit the legislative proposal for a national police system to the Upper House. The introduction of a national police force should lead to better police care and increased safety in the Netherlands.

A national police force, under the direct responsibility of the Minister of Security and Justice, will better enable the police to meet the requirements set by society. Safety for citizens and the work of the police officer are central in this connection. The national police force will lead to more room for the professional, less bureaucracy, less consultative structures, a safer living environment and more effective investigations.

A single force

The formation of a national police force will strengthen the unity of the police. The current 25 regional police forces, the National Police Services Agency, the Dutch Police Collaboration Facility and all other supraregional facilities will be incorporated in this single police force, which will consist of ten regional units and one or more national units that are charged with the performance of police duties, such as the current National Investigation Service. Increased unity is necessary because many police duties, such as fighting serious and organised crime, have to be carried out at both the local and the national and international level.

The ten regional units will be responsible for performance of the executive police duties in their area, such as basic police care and investigations. The boundaries of the regional units are similar to the proposed structure of the court districts. A supporting service will also be formed, which will be charged with operational duties such as IT and human resources. This will create a more efficient police organisation that can deal with safety problems in a flexible and decisive manner and can cooperate well with other partners, such as the safety regions.

The chief of police will be charged with the management of the national police force. The chief of police, who operates under ministerial responsibility, will be supported by a police force management team. The regional and national units are hierarchically subordinate to the national chief of police. The chief of police is subordinate to the Minister of Security and Justice. Contrary to the current police system, the Minister will have such powers that he can directly steer the management of and the performance of duties by the police.

Local authority

The police should be close to the citizens. Local authority over the police will therefore remain unchanged. The mayor will continue to manage the police in the enforcement of public order and provision of assistance in his municipality. The Public Prosecutor will continue to steer the police in criminal enforcement of the legal order and duties for the benefit of justice. The act furthermore provides that mayor and Public Prosecutor will have a right of consent as regards the appointment of the head of the local unit of the regional unit.

The mayor and Public Prosecutor will make agreements in the local tripartite consultations concerning the deployment of the police at the local level. The mayor will conclude these agreements on the basis of the local, integral safety plan adopted by the municipal council. The mayor will be accountable to the municipal council concerning the exercise of his authority over the police.

Regional mayor

The formation of the national police force under the responsibility of the Minister of Security and Justice means that the regional police force managers and the regional boards will disappear. That means a significant reduction of the consultative structures surrounding the police. The position of regional mayor is new to the system. The regional mayor is the mayor of the municipality with the largest number of inhabitants in the area where the regional unit performs its police duties. The mayor and Chief Public Prosecutor will lay down the division of the available police capacity in the region in a regional policy plan. If agreement cannot be reached, the regional mayor will adopt the regional policy plan together with the Chief Public Prosecutor.

In consultation with the ten regional mayors and the Board of Procurators General, the Minister of Security and Justice will establish the policy objectives for the police once every four years. Said policy objectives are then translated into regional policy plans for the regional units. Local police policy is given ample room when drawing up the national policy objectives.