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Published On: Wed, Oct 7th, 2020

Report Progress Committee on Police Force: “Dark clouds are emerging.”

PHILIPSBURG – “The situation at the police force is less rosy than in our previous report,” the Progress Committee writes in its 37th progress report about the plan of approach for St. Maarten’s men and women in blue. “The return of the national police to the Netherlands has decimated the ranks and there is no perspective for new personnel.”

Earlier, the Progress Committee, chaired by Nico Schoof, was positive about the developments at the police force. But now, the report notes, “dark clouds are emerging.” This is however not due to any wrongdoing by the force’s management but to several circumstances that are beyond its influence.

On August 1, all Dutch officers of the National Police returned to the Netherlands. “The loss of fifteen experienced officers is significant,” the report states.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, police training has come to a full stop and therefore no new officers will emerge from these courses.

“It will be very difficult to maintain a more or less reliable level of security for the rest of the year,” the report states.

Once the function book for the police force is in effect, the police should reach its agreed upon strength of 293 executive officers. But the function book and the regulation for the legal position of staff members are stagnating “because the formal legal process has not been followed.” It requires a national decree containing general measures. This situation is frustrating staff members very much, the report states.

Realizing the plan of approach for the police will result in increased personnel costs, but there is no money earmarked for this purpose in the country’s multi-annual budget. The progress committee therefore suggests that there is a need for alternative sources of financing.

One possibility is to do this through the COVID-reconstruction plan – the liquidity support offered by the Netherlands. This money could be used to finance the training for new officers. “That would bring the ultimate goal of the police strength within reach.”

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