The legacy of a fallen Cabinet
In the Netherlands new elections will be held in September this year. It is totally unclear what kind of Cabinet the Netherlands will get. The political landscape is very fragmented at this time.
In the Netherlands the Cabinet has fallen. The collaboration between the Liberals, Christian Democrats and the Party for Freedom no longer exists; a construction which lasted one and a half years, by which time it was beyond saving. This collaboration was not resistant to the need for new budget cuts. In the Netherlands new elections will be held in September this year. It is totally unclear what kind of Cabinet the Netherlands will get. The political landscape is very fragmented at this time.
This cabinet achieved or has nearly achieved two major institutional changes in the field of security, safety and criminal justice. Firstly, the Netherlands got a Ministry of Security and Justice. In the past, both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice were responsible for security and the police. That led to intense political conflicts and bureaucratic inertia with respect to almost all policy issues. Things changed very slowly in the field of the security and police, while the need for change and innovation grew stronger. The new Ministry of Security and Justice energetically went to work with many innovations. Not always to the liking of criminal lawyers and academics, but in tune with the wishes of the majority of the parliament. Conflicts between the two ministries became a thing of the past. Changes were actually implemented. My wish and hope is that in the new Cabinet this single Ministry of Security and Justice will remain. It is one of the best changes in security, safety and criminal justice in the last century in the Netherlands.
The second major change concerns the institutional development of a national police force. After many decades of discussion, parliament finally decided to develop a single national police force, merging the 25 regional police forces. Although there was thorough resistance in the past, now everyone seems to be in favour of one national police force: the entire parliament, the police themselves, the unions, the public and the media. While there is still some debate about the particular administrative embedding of this national police, the support for it has never been so broad. Many steps have already been taken to create the national police force; it is actually an irreversible process now. The Senate of the Dutch parliament still has to consider and approve the amendment to change the Police Law. This means that there is still a risk that the national police will not be realized which would mean that one of the biggest and best changes in the Dutch security system will not materialize. The Dutch police will be more effective, more efficient, more democratic and more legitimate when they become a national police force.
My plea is to maintain good decisions and good plans made by the previous government. The Ministry of Security and Justice should continue. The National Police should be developed.