News item | 23-06-2022 | 15:00

    Special investigative officers (boas) are playing an increasingly important role in the quality of life and safety in our country. In order to be able to perform the task of boa independently and safely, good training, adequate equipment and, if necessary, armament is necessary. To make it easier to determine someone’s identity on the street, boas will also have access to the driving license register from next year. For example, Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security stated in the multi-year policy agenda for boas that she presented to the House of Representatives today.

    Image: Ministry of Justice and Security / Rutger Rog

    BOA enforcer in conversation with police

    The Netherlands has approximately 23,000 boas who work across six domains and through hundreds of public and private employers. For example, we know the municipal enforcers who enforce common nuisances such as the annoying behavior of loitering youth, waste on the street and traffic violations. The green boas, such as the forester who ensures enforcement in the outlying areas. Or the public transport boas: conductors in the trams, trains and buses. Compulsory education officers and social investigators are also boas. So there are many different boas. In addition to an important role for employers, the Minister of Justice and Security is responsible for this entire system of boas.

    Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security: “Boas are the ears and eyes of the district. They know the inhabitants, are often the first to address or speak to people. In the outdoor areas, the green boas ensure that nature remains protected and in public transport that everyone can travel safely. Over the years, boas have been given more tasks. That is why they also need the corresponding instruments to be able to perform their task properly and independently. Of course in close cooperation with the police.”

    Access to systems

    If a boa on the street wants to issue a fine for a violation, he must be able to establish the identity of the offender. If a person does not have an identity document with him, the police must now come to determine the identity. To ensure that boas can do this independently, they are given access to the driving license register of the Road Traffic Service (RDW). Municipal enforcers, public green boas and public transport boas are expected to be able to independently determine the identity of a person in the course of 2023.

    Armament

    Boas must be able to do their work safely. This means that the employer must provide training and good equipment, such as a walkie-talkie or a protective vest. When necessary for their task, Boas can be equipped with means of violence, for example with the short baton. When allocating the means of violence, the boa employer must now demonstrate, among other things, whether there has been an increase in the number of violent incidents against the boa. If the number of violent incidents remained the same or decreased, this could lead to the withdrawal of the means of violence, while the necessity to equip a boa with a means of violence remained. That is undesirable. That is why this criterion is now being adjusted in the boa policy rules. In addition, handcuffs will eventually be added to the standard equipment of boas that have a force authority.

    The pilot with a short baton for municipal enforcers in 10 municipalities has been evaluated by the WODC. The evaluation has yielded many useful learning points, for example in the field of communication skills and the importance of training. A number of learning points are incorporated in the Boa policy rules. The pilot with the short baton will end on 1 July 2022. All municipalities can, if they wish, submit an application for granting the short baton on the basis of the amended Boa policy rules. Of course, it must meet all conditions and criteria.

    Neutrality of the uniform

    During the work, the boa represents the Dutch government and can use the police powers assigned to him or her and any means of violence. This entails a great deal of responsibility and requires a neutral and professional appearance. That is why a national lifestyle neutrality guideline has been drawn up in accordance with the guideline as known by the police. The guideline states that a boa in contact with the public distances itself from “visible expressions of (life) belief, religion, political opinion, orientation, movement, association or other form of lifestyle that detracts from the image of authority, neutrality and safety. of the Special Investigating Officer.

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