First report from the 2012 Police Act (Politiewet 2012) Evaluation Commission

Today the 2012 Police Act (Politiewet 2012) Evaluation Commission presented its first report to Minister Van der Steur (Security and Justice). In this interim report (Evaluation of the 2012 Police Act in the Eastern unit of the Netherlands and national themes [Evaluatie Politiewet 2012 in de eenheid Oost-Nederland en landelijke thema’s]), the Commission concludes that the need for the introduction of the National Police is widely supported. Parties are confident that permanent economies of scale will be accomplished, but it has become a somewhat sensitive issue.

The findings are based on research carried out by the Erasmus University Rotterdam, by order of the Commission. The Commission also had conversations within and outside of the police organisation. Apart from support for the introduction of the national police, the Commission also concluded that the implementation is characterised by an accumulation of difficult tasks for all those involved. The long process and delays in personnel restructuring have caused tense relations that are intensified even more by the ongoing CLA conflict. The fact that reassessment was required, is not surprising. The Commission supports the proposals for phasing of the restructuring task, balance in terms of guidance and room for local customisation based on the reassessment memorandum, but warns that the remaining implementation process will not be any less tedious.

The imposed division between local authorities and national control remains the most striking characteristic of the restructuring process and a source of adaptation difficulties and tension. The main players must play their roles with the necessary balance and must give the other parties the necessary space. Although Oost-Nederland is the largest unit of the national police, it does not appear, so far, that the workability and effectiveness will therefore be compromised. According to the involved parties, the regional mayor's practical involvement is encouraging. However, the complexity of this practical involvement is major, due to the size and scope of the unit and the lack of formal management powers and powers to overcome obstacles.

Taking into account the short period of time that the Act has been in force, and the still ongoing restructuring, it is too early to draw final conclusions regarding the structuring of the police as a separate legal entity, the legal status of the chief of police under the 2012 Police Act, and the Minister's authority to issue instructions. In the next evaluation phase, the Commission will attentively follow the further implementation of the national police, to assess the extent to which actual practice indicates whether the Act needs to be amended, or whether it will suffice to change the working methods within the existing legal framework. The Commission's second report on the introduction of the national police throughout the Netherlands, will be presented to the Minister before 1 October 2017.

Minister Van der Steur presented the report to the House of Representatives today and to the most involved parties. He will issue a response to the report after consultation with the involved parties.