Cheaper surveillants to replace police

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The government wants to replace police officers by surveillants with fewer responsibilities and fewer powers. Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten stresses, however, that the new surveillants will be “fully fledged police, with a weapon and pepper spray”.

The plan is currently being discussed with police superintendants and police unions.

The move, set out in the coalition agreement, aims to save 30 million euros.

The minister does not yet know how many police officers will be replaced by surveillants, the minister’s spokesperson said.

Populist PVV leader Geert Wilders, who supports the cabinet in parliament, is against the plan, saying the cabinet should seek other ways to cut the budget.

The minister’s own liberal VVD parliamentary party has described the proposal as “bad policy”.

The Green Left party rejects the plan as “unacceptable for a government that claims focus on security”.

The Socialist Party speaks of an “unprecedented plan”, warning it will only lead to fewer police officers patrolling the streets.

Labour calls the plan “outrageous”. 

The Socialist Party, Green Left and Labour want to question the minister next week.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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