Police have no time for stolen bikes and cybercrime: NOS
The number of cases that are not being investigated by police through lack of staff is increasing, broadcaster NOS has found.
Last year, 32,000 cases were stopped prematurely because there was not enough manpower to bring them to a conclusion while 26,000 were not looked into at all, police figures requested by NOS showed.
The police told the broadcaster cases are selected on the probability that they can successfully pursued, based on criteria set by the public prosecution office.
Not all cases merit police intervention and some can be solved by mediation or dealt with by social organisations, they said.
‘The truth is that we always have more cases than we can cope with,’ national police chief Hanneke Ekelmans told the broadcaster. ‘Cases have become much more complex over the years. They are more labour intensive and that means we have to handle fewer cases with the same number of people. Unfortunate, but there it is.’
The type of cases that police have not investigated are mostly to do with cybercrime and scams, which police say have very little chance of resulting in a prosecution. Only one in six cybercrime cases which were investigated ended in an arrest, NOS said.
Physical abuse cases, bike theft, and shoplifting are also among the cases police have been setting aside, although there are big regional differences. Police in Rotterdam did not have enough manpower to investigate 300 traffic accidents last year, while in the north of the country, hundreds of reports of threats, abuse and vandalism were dropped
Meanwhile the police have claimed computer issues are leading them to automatically updates personal data files covering millions of people, including those of the dead.
Trouw, which had access to an internal police memo from two years ago, reports that police have a ‘subscription’ with the national residents registration system for personal data updates.
Police are allowed to request data from the registration system if necessary to solve a case. Suspects, witnesses, and people who have reported a crime are all included, which means that at the moment the personal data of nine million people is being continually updated.
The practice was criticised as early as 2015 by the government data protection watchdog Rijksdienst voor Identiteitsgegevens but a stricter policy to limit the number of people whose data are updated has not yet been implemented. It is too complicated to shut off ‘cumbersome applications’ from one day to the next, the police told the paper.
Civil rights organisation Bits of Freedom have said police are overstepping their rights ‘ by collecting data they don’t need. ‘Having more data boosts the risk of leaks,’ privacy expert Rejo Zegers said.
Police have denied they are breaking the law. ‘We cannot do our job without up-to- date information and the law backs us up. We ourselves have decided we can make do with less data and we are working on that,’ police chief Henke Geveke told Trouw.
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