More power for Dutch police on peace mission

22nd August 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch government wants police posted abroad to be given the power to go on patrols and carry out arrests.

22 August 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - The Dutch government wants to send more police officers to participate in overseas peacekeeping missions and give them wider powers.

Police are posted abroad to provide training for local police forces. They will now also be given the power to go on patrols and carry out arrests or searches.

Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst says it is certainly not her intention to have police carry out dangerous missions in dangerous countries like Afghanistan. She says the safety of Dutch police officers should not be compromised.

The Dutch police union has reservations about the plan. Police Union Chair Han Busker says they are currently still in discussion with the minister about the plan.

According to Buske, the government should first introduce solid legislation. “We are not opposed to this sort of thing, but it must be properly organised…or else it's going to be a shambles".

Busker also said  police do not seek wider powers for officers serving on peace missions. He argued that police could play a role in reconstruction work after the soldiers create a secure environment.

Busker feels that, in view of the current substantial shortage of police officers, the government should first make up its mind to allocate sufficient funds to hire more officers.

Since 2001, around 30 police officers have been taking part in peace missions. Dutch officers are currently stationed in Sudan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Cyprus, Serbia and Afghanistan. The minister wants to increase their number to a maximum of 100 a year.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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