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Following today’s publication by a Dutch Police Union (NPB) of a report (PDF), warning about the inefficiency of Dutch Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Dutch media widely reported on its findings. Both Public Broadcaster NOS and newspaper De Telegraaf call it

the downward slide into a narcostate.

The long and the short of it: the Dutch police is inefficient to a terrifying degree. Its 0900-information number is incapable of dealing with calls. According to NPB-chairman Jan Struijs:

There are hundreds of callers that hang up on the service daily: people that just have to wait too long. Which means a loss of crucial information, but also losing citizens’ willingness to inform the police.

But that isn’t all. It is estimated, based on interviews with at least 400 CID detectives, that less than 20% of victims report a crime to the police. Over the last fifteen years, willingness to report crime has gone down the drain. From this, the report concludes that the public’s trust in the police has completely eroded.

Detectives estimate they are only able to examine one in five criminal cases, focussing mainly on liquidations, robberies and violent crime. Other forms of crime, such as fraud, are largely neglected. Especially worrying is the growth of cybercrime, internet scams and phishing. As the report concludes:

Because of the aging population and cut-backs on care, the number of crimes aimed at vulnerable people has risen. So-called ‘chat scams’, thefts, fraud and violence targeting of the elderly and vulnerable have boomed and not enough attention is focused on this type of crime.

Detectives see how young criminals are able to grow into leaders of crime, because their activities are not followed closely enough. Criminals develop into rich entrepreneurs with interests in hospitality, small shops, travel agencies and in housing. From the report:

Only 1 in 9 criminal groups can be confronted with the present available manpower and means.

‘The last 25 years, I have seen small-time dealers grow into large contractors who have good contacts in politics, and into so-called respected investors,’ (Bert, detective)

Struijs, himself a former detective, calls the situation serious. He lays the blame with Dutch politics, which has not responded adequately to the problems. And is ignoring the findings of reports on the problems it has itself commissioned, such as one published in 2016:

It is all very worrying. Report after report is published. But nothing happens. There are words from the cabinet, full of hope, but not enough is done. The way the police operates isn’t good either. The administrative burden has increased, and an unnecessary amount of time is wasted on meetings and analyses.

During the last years, political attention has been given to small-scale criminal activity and public safety, according to Struijs, allowing serious crime to grow. This, in turn, has led to feuds which are settled in public, resulting in liquidations in public, gunmen targeting houses. affecting innocent bystanders.

When questioned, detectives indicate being worried by the results of this organized crime being allowed to thrive. The report concludes that the Netherlands now meet many of the criteria of a narcostate, with detectives seeing the development of a parallel economy. The report also complains about a lack of manpower, seeing an immediate need for 2000 extra detectives, to combat arrears. From the report:

Based on the most recent research numbers (consulting firm AEF, 2012) the Netherlands has relatively few detectives, in comparison to other Western European countries. Set against the total number of police officers, the share is 12,8% against, for example 17,2% in Germany or 24% in Denmark. To bring the Dutch percentage to the European average of 20% – according AEF – the National Police needs to hire at least 4000 extra detectives.

The problems within the police are exacerbated by a ‘culture of fear’ within the organisation. This leads to a climate of ‘political correctness’, obscuring facts, an unhealthy working environment, a dysfunctional organisation and a tarnished public image:

Only when a police commissioner or a public prosecutor retires he tells the truth about the proliferative organised crime. What do you mean, a culture of blame?