Staff shortages and changing demand have made the police decide to open the police stations in Hoogeveen, Meppel and Beilen less often for so-called ‘free walk-in’, or walk in without an appointment. According to the police, there is more capacity available in the neighborhoods and for investigative work due to fewer officers behind the counter.
In Hoogeveen, the number of days that people can report to the counter without an appointment will be reduced to three. Tuesday and Thursday are cancelled. In Meppel you can still go for half a day, that was four half days and in Beilen Tuesday has been cancelled, leaving only Thursday. Anyone who wants to speak to a police officer on other days should call the general number, which, according to a spokesperson, is by far the most used to contact the police.
“The capacity shortage in Drenthe is a problem that exists in all basic teams in Drenthe and cannot be solved in the short term,” the police writes. In order to complete the schedules, all kinds of tasks were held up to the light. This year, for example, they worked longer at minimum strength (holiday occupation) and training sessions were cancelled.
In Southwest Drenthe, it was also decided to open the police stations less to free entry. Since 1 September you can visit the office in Hoogeveen, Meppel or Beilen less often to have personal contact with an agent. In Diever, it was only possible to visit by appointment. “We see that there is less need for it and in case of scarcity this is a relatively easy choice,” explains a police spokesperson. “People are increasingly reaching us online or by phone. An appointment was already necessary to file a report, so nothing will change.”
In addition, police officers are not tied to the station. “Agents have mobile equipment, which means that more and more work is handled on location, digitally or by telephone. For example, recording a declaration, conducting a mediation interview, but also the associated recording at someone’s home is possible.”
The police say through the spokesperson that they understand that there are still people who like to be able to just step inside. “That’s why this is still possible in some places.” By removing agents from behind the counter, agents can be approached more flexibly, according to the police. Scheduling a tax return should, for example, be easier, now that the free-walk-in hours have disappeared, there is more room for this in the rosters.
Throughout Drenthe, the pressure on available police capacity has increased recently. The police cite, among other things, ‘the after-effects of extra efforts during the corona measures, in social unrest and various demonstrations’ as the cause. The outflow of personnel, an aging population and reduced influx also cause shortages.
This is partly the result of the reduction in the number of jobs in the police force in the Northern Netherlands, since the introduction of the National Police. The police report that there is now a structural shortage of personnel.