Municipalities Can Hire Private Companies to Hand out Fines
THE HAGUE, 04/07/13 - Justice Minister Opstelten wants to permit municipalities from 1 January 2014 to hire in personnel from private organisations to work as special investigating officers.
Special investigating officers (BOAs) are currently allowed to hand out fines for parking violations and general local regulations. "But soon this will also cover areas such as upholding the Licensing and Catering Act, public manifestations, fireworks, as well as environmental issues," Opstelten says in a letter to parliament.
There will also be the increased possibilities for municipalities to hire in personnel from private organisations to work as BOAs. And in order to make the special investigating officers more easily recognisable, the aim is for them to have the same uniforms everywhere in the Netherlands by 1 January 2014.
According to Opstelten, the special investigating officers and the police complement each other and strengthen each other's position. "The accent of the monitoring by the municipalities and maintaining order in public spaces lies with quality of life and nuisance factors, while the police have the actual task of maintaining law and order."
Privately hired BOAs will be allowed to carry handcuffs under certain circumstances, but not to carry weapons such as pepper spray and truncheons. "Weapons need to remain only in the hands of the State", said Opstelten.
There are currently almost 3,600 special investigating officers across the Netherlands. However, there are large differences in numbers when you compare different municipalities: the four large cities together employ almost one third of all BOAs while other municipalities have only one special investigating officer or even none at all.