Dutch big city mayors demand more investment in policing
The mayors of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam are among 10 mayors who have written an open letter to the government urging it to spend more money on the police.
The letter, printed in Thursday’s Volkskrant, states that the mayors are ‘extremely worried’ by the spending cuts which have been imposed on the police. ‘We have hit the bottom line,’ the letter states. ‘We can see the cuts are starting to have an effect on police strength and measures are necessary.’
The mayors point out that justice ministry research shows the cuts – totalling €500m – have had a serious financial impact on the police. While registered crime has gone down, society is changing fast and the police have to take on ‘new and complex security problems’ which require investment.
These include ‘radicalised youngsters, cyber crime, terrorism threats, identity fraud, refugee issues, complicated financial crimes and an increase in the number of people with mental health issues’, the letter states.
The mayors point out that the number of police officers is being cut from 50,500 to 49,800, including new recruits. Their number is going up to 4,500, which means police strength is in effect being reduced to 45,000 operational officers, the mayors state.
They have drawn up an action plan listing nine key issues which they want tackled. These include a 20% increase in beat officers, proper investment in intelligence systems and IT, the establishment of a more diverse police force in terms of sex, age and ethnicity, and a greater emphasis on solving problems at a local level.