The Dutch police exist to maintain public order, offer assistance to those under threat, and to enforce the criminal law.
The role of the Dutch police
To achieve those objectives, the Netherlands police fulfil several core roles including, but not limited to:
- Being visible on the street: preventing offences and crimes.
- Basic detective work: investigating petty thefts and burglaries is part of basic police work; when the case takes up too much time, it is transferred to the special branch.
- Giving advice to the public on preventing crime: how to deter burglaries, keeping safe at night, etc.
- Providing assistance to those who ask for it but also to game wardens, municipalities etc.
- Dealing with traffic issues: traffic surveillance, handling traffic accidents, advising citizens and municipalities, traffic congestion reduction etc.
- Maintaining laws and regulations. For example checking if foreigners are in possession of the right documents (visa, residence permit, work permit etc.) in cooperation with the immigration service.
- National, (inter)regional investigations: serious crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, youth delinquency, arms trade, fraud, big environmental cases and sexual offences.
Note that in these cases, the detectives are often supported by specialists.
Use of force and weapons
To maintain public order, each police officer in the Netherlands has been issued with a 9 mm service pistol, short baton and pepper spray.
However, there are stringent regulations that restrict the use of force and weapons by the police. The Netherlands police force is monitored by a general public survey every two years, which evaluates the experiences of people who have come into contact with police force members. It is also audited every four years by an independent government body.
Neighbourhood police officer (wijkagent)
Every neighbourhood has its own police officer. This "wijkagent" is a well experienced police officer, who collaborates with their colleagues in the districts, like detectives and other policemen, and additionally is in contact with other services like the local government, housing corporations or care partners.
The neighbourhood police officer is often the first contact for residents and business owners. Because of their diverse network, they know what is happening in the neighbourhood, which enables them to resolve local issues and ideally even prevent certain problems from arising. Many wijkagenten have a physical office hour, or they can be found on social media.
If you’d like to find out who your wijkagent is, visit www.politie.nl, go to "mijn buurt" (my neighbourhood) and fill in your address. You can even get in touch directly by filling in the online contact form.
Dutch police contact details
You can contact the police:
At the police website, you can find the contact details for your local police: click on Korpsen (top right-hand corner of the webpage) select your region. Note that enquiries and complaints should be made to your police branch / region.
- If you are in an emergency and require urgent police assistance, you should call 112.
- For non-emergency matters that still require police assistance, call 0900-8844.
- If you have to call the Dutch police from abroad, use +31 34 357 88 44.