Recalibrating our National Police: more realism

Our National Police is getting more time. There will be a better focus on the arrangement of operational management. The police will also be placed in a better relationship with the authorities: the mayors and the public prosecutor's office. That is what Minister Van der Steur wrote today in a letter to the Chamber about the recalibration of our national police. A more realistic timetable and more modest ambitions have been adopted. Mayors, the public prosecutor's office, the central works council and the trade unions have contributed to this recalibration over the past few months.

Two and a half years after the commencement of the national police it is time to take stock and adjust the reorganisation. In the meantime, our national police have achieved a great deal. Significant steps have been taken in the formation of basic teams, district criminal investigation departments and real-time intelligence centres. That applies also to the provision of services. The further organisation of the national police will require more time. That extra time is now made available. Only in this way can the objectives of the national police be realised. This police organisation must stand for: better delivery of services to citizens, efficient management, better national cooperation, better exchange of knowledge and expertise and greater opportunities for the authorities to control the deployment of police.

The influence of the authorities on management at a national level is being strengthened. The members of the so-called article 19 consultative body (regional mayors, two mayors from 100,000 minimum municipalities and the chair of the College of Procurators-General) will be involved more and earlier in management and policy issues. They will also be more involved than is currently the case in broader safety issues which affect the police in the execution of their duties. The quantity and the quality of crime detection must also reach a higher level. The recruitment of financial, economic and cybercrime specialists will be speeded up.

There will be more time to establish the fundamentals and to complete the reorganisation of staff. The leadership of the force will set up more executive units and operate more strategically. At the same time, the police chiefs of the 10 units will be given more responsibility to make the results and quality of their units a reality. The police chiefs will have greater impact on operations, so that they can best respond to local needs.

Finally, the financial projections for the restructuring are being reassessed. The initially estimated reorganisation budget has been increased from 230 million to 460 million euros. These one-off costs have been included within the budget for the police.

Ministry responsible