Published On: Tue, Dec 21st, 2021

Justice chain function books create financial headache, or unrest within the police force

PHILIPSBURG — “My heartfelt congrats to all service members of the justice chain with the approval of the function books.” That text, accompanied by a picture of a smiling Minister of Justice Anna Richardson appeared in Facebook on Monday evening. A swift reaction from police union NAPB created confusion: “Is this a prank or are we being punked? We have zero knowledge of any completion and/or approval of said function book.” StMaartenNews.com is in the process of verifying the authenticity of the union-statement.

The 42nd report of the Progress Committee points to other issues that may or may not have been solved with the signing of the function book. “There are still some serious stumbling blocks. If the function book is enforced retroactively significant arrears will have to be paid to the staff,” the committee points out. “No money had been set aside for this purpose and it is unknown how much money will be involved in retroactive payments.”

There is an “indication” that the function book will not have a retroactive effect and this will create a whole different set of issues. “This creates unrest in the police force because in the past advance payments have been made to the staff.”

The Progress Committee foresees that the ministry will be swamped with lawsuits because of this and this in turn will lead to even higher expenditures. The committee has advised stakeholders to get an approximate idea of the financial aspect and to arrive at a solution that is agreeable to all parties involved.

Minister Richardson is discussing the transfer of support functions from her ministry to a shared service organization at the ministry of general affairs. Richardson and the Committee are both of the opinion that the police force has an independent position based on the National Law Police (Rijkswet Politie) and that therefore support functions cannot be transferred to another ministry.

The Progress Committee is satisfied that Minister Richardson had followed its advice and put the number of ftes (full time equivalents) in the function book at 332. “This is close to the Plan of Approach as it was established during the Round Table Conference in 2010. At that time the number of FTE’s was 394 but that included border control. The police force is not involved anymore in this task.”