Bill sent to House of Representatives: special position of investigating officers in criminal law
Police officers will no longer automatically be considered a suspect during an investigation into use of force. From now on, the use of force will also be checked against a new offence description tailored to police officers and criminalising any violation of the rules governing the use of force. This is the essence of a bill from Minister Van der Steur (Security and Justice) which was submitted to the House of Representatives today.
The starting point is to do justice to and take greater account of the special position of police officers. Van der Steur: ‘Police officers are allowed and sometimes forced to use force. This is part of their duties. So it is not fitting to treat police officers as suspects right away.’ The Minister does not want to exclude investigative officers from criminal law. He does believe that the current general offence descriptions (assault or manslaughter) are insufficiently tailored to situations in which police officers use force as part of their duties.
That is why there will be a new offence description tailored to police officers and criminalising any violation of the rules governing the use of force. This description offers more room for a suitable response to use of force by police officers than prosecution for a general violent offence, as is currently the case.
The bill also guarantees that proper and thorough investigations continue to be conducted into the circumstances of the use of force and into whether the rules were followed.