Ruth Prins Discusses Chosen Mayors on Dutch Police Magazine Website
In the article, Ruth Prins gives her opinion on the possible consequences chosen mayors might have for the police.
Traditionally, mayors have always been appointed by the king (or queen) but at the end of last year both the Tweede Kamer as well as the Eerste Kamer voted to scrap this passage from the Dutch constitution. The appointment procedure for mayors will become more democratic but will not be without risks.
Ruth Prins, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University, talks about one of the risks of chosen mayors: 'It opens the door for the politicization of local police actions. In the future, mayors will also need to take the opinions of their voters into consideration which means that the authority they hold over the police will become politically charged.' Prins also refers to the possible challenges when monitoring the monopoly on violence held by the Dutch government. Under certain provisions, this monopoly on violence may be used to maintain the peace. A mayor's authority over the police is part of the chain of checks and balances on how the police operates during these particular situations. With the new system of chosen mayors the neutral role mayors are tasked with can no longer be guaranteed.
It is still unclear what the new appointment procedure for chosen mayors will look like nor the effect it will have on local police actions. But one thing is certain, things are about to change. Security is a popular topic during political campaigns and will most likely become a central part of the political campaign strategies for mayoral positions. 'These political campaigns can lead to political colouring of the security policies proposed by the mayor on which future police actions will be based,' says Prins. 'Another not altogether unrealistic scenario is one in which mayors will experience increased pressure to take action to address problems that are causing a lot of social unrest. Even when the crime statistics indicate a need for different actions.'
You can read the full article (in Dutch) on the website of Het Tijdschrift voor de Politie