Creation of national force has cut crime rate, says police chief

The reorganisation of the Netherlands’ regional police forces into a single unit has helped cut the crime rate, says police chief Gerard Bouwman.

Before the regional squads were merged, critics said the reorganisation would reduce police effectiveness, but the reverse has happened, Bouwman told the Knevel en Van den Brink talk show.

Bouwman says the crime rate has fallen across the board. There were 5% fewer burglaries last year than in 2012, armed robberies were down 18% and muggings have been cut by almost half over a couple of years.

However, Jelger Zee of retail organisation Detailhandel Nederland disputes the police chief’s claim, pointing out that robberies have been declining for years.

‘There are fewer armed robberies but not thanks to the national police force,’ he told Nos television. Instead, shopkeepers are still confronted daily with difficulties due to the lack of coordination between different police regions, he said.

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