Expatica news

Mayor: Dutch Interior Minister is power hungry

26 April 2004

AMSTERDAM — In an extraordinary attack, Haarlem’s Mayor Jaap Pop has accused Interior Minister Johan Remkes of exaggerating the extent of crime in the Netherlands in order to gain more power over the police.

In an interview in newspaper De Volkskrant on Monday, Pop said Remkes had to drop his ‘pure power struggle’ to obtain ultimate control over the police.

Under the Dutch system, Interior Minister, Remkes has is responsible for the management of police services throughout the country, but city mayors are in charge of deciding policies for the local force.

Pop is in charge of the Kennemerland police force – in Haarlem – and is chairman of the Association of Mayors.

The Mayor was commenting about an unpublished legislative proposal drafted by Remkes and Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner which would give them the power to decide the main points of police policy and to fix performance targets.

The Council of State is currently examining the bill, and if approved, it will be put before Parliament for ratification.

Under the proposals, the ministers would have the power to order police divisions around the country to focus their efforts against specific types of crimes or criminals.

Echoing the feelings of the mayors who head the 25 police services in the Netherlands, Pop said centralisation of control of the police would be counterproductive and an energy-wasting exercise. Warning the move would not increase public safety, Pop added: “It is all about the power”.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news