The closure of some 200 police stations nationwide will damage policing because officers will take too long to bring people they have arrested into custody, according to justice ministry inspectors.
The problem is most acute in rural areas where the distances between police stations can be considerable, the inspectors point out. For example, taking someone from the town of Stadskanaal to Groningen city takes at least two hours out of an officer’s day, the inspectors said.
Around half of the Netherlands’ 400 police stations are being closed down as part of an efficiency drive to save €230m. Many will be replaced by ‘support desks’ where locals can report crimes or talk to officials for a few hours a week.
Meanwhile, the Telegraaf reports that the decision to share police cars between different police districts is also having an impact. Four mayors in the rural east of the country have written to the justice ministry sounding the alarm.
Country areas need more police cars at their disposal because of the distance between settlements, the mayors say. ‘This development is unacceptable when it comes to maintaining order and public safety,’ the mayors said.
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