Short-staffed Dutch police drop 16.000 cases
So far this year, the Dutch police have dropped thousands of cases because there were not enough detectives available. These were cases that had a good chance of being solved, as there were a sufficient number of leads.
Thousands of unopened cases
Currently, the police are working on 40.000 cases. However, there are another 23.000 cases waiting to be worked on. These unopened cases cover crimes from robberies to violence, but unfortunately, there is no capacity within the police force to deal with them yet.
According to a spokesperson for the police, the number of discontinued cases has been around the same level for years. Cases which have a big impact and involve violence are, of course, not dropped, but choices do have to be made every day.
Rob van den Broeke, district manager at the criminal investigation department, expresses that, “If a shooting case comes in, we don’t have time to address other cases. In such an instance, we temporarily pause cases that allow this, for example, long-term, drug-related crime investigations.
What about more serious cases?
According to police union ACP, detectives are also forced to abandon more serious cases due to staff shortages. Chairman of ACP, Gerrit van de Kamp, says “This is the first time that the police are disclosing figures, but we think that the actual figures are higher.” Jan Struijs from the NPB union agrees, stating, “This is utmost a conservative estimate, the number is higher.”
Both governing and opposition parties in the Dutch House of Representatives find the figures unacceptable. Kathalijne Buitenweg from the political party GroenLinks calls the state of affairs, “frustrating for police staff and painful for victims.” PVV member Lilian Helder agrees and parties such as VVD and CDA express a similar sentiment.
On Thursday, November 29, the House of Representatives debated the state of the Dutch police with Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus. Earlier this month, Grapperhaus made extra funds available to the police to increase their capacity.