10 november 2008
'The National Police Internal Investigations Department or rijksrecherche is investigating the matter…!'
The information in the media on the involvement of the National Police Internal Investigations Department, or rijksrecherche, in a criminal investigation usually entails not much more than the above sentence. The reasons why and the way in which the rijksrecherche is deployed are rarely stated. Consequently, the rijksrecherche seems to be doing its work in a mist of secrecy. On occasion, after an investigation has been completed and the case file has been transferred to the Public Prosecutions Department, the rijksrecherche is mentioned again by the press, often in a more negative sense, because the opinion is that the investigation:
The arguments put forward are often incorrect, but the rijksrecherche is quite happy to leave its defence to the Board of Procurators General.
The work of the rijksrecherche is far from secret. With this website, the rijksrecherche hopes to take away some of the unfamiliarity surrounding its work. It speaks for itself that the rijksrecherche needs to adopt a reticent attitude towards the public, simply because the nature of the often highly sensitive investigations so requires. However, the rijksrecherche is keen to clarify what it has stood for as an organisation since 1897, and which activities it performs. There is nothing secret about that.
For the largest part, the rijksrecherche consists of experienced detectives, in addition to staff and support staff. It is divided over three locations in the Netherlands; The Hague, Zwolle and Den Bosch. The rijksrecherche is the only division of the Dutch police that falls under the exclusive responsibility and authority of the Board of Procurators General of the Public Prosecutions Department. Consequently, its role in the Dutch rule of law is moderate, but distinctive. The rijksrecherche is a unique phenomenon in Europe, as no other country has a similar independent investigations organisation.
Rijksrecherche investigations primarily focus on investigations against (semi) government officials (civil servants) who are suspected of punishable acts (criminal offences), whereby the integrity of justice and/or that of the public administration (the government) is at issue. On the basis of its independent position towards the various police forces, the rijksrecherche may also conduct investigations into the actions of police officers who in the performance of their duties used violence or were in default, as a result of which injuries occurred. The rijksrecherche therefore contributes to the monitoring and upholding of an incorruptible government. Our rule of law, each party involved, each citizen, but also the government itself, has a right thereto and has an enormous interest in that.
Not each single investigation in said field is conducted by the rijksrecherche. Investigations may also be assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureaus (BIZ) or Internal Investigations Bureaus (BIO) operating within the organisations proper. For correctly carrying out one and other, the Board of Procurators General has issued a directive. The objective of the directive is to explain the criteria according to which the rijksrecherche may be deployed (see Core Tasks / deployment criteria). To conclude, the Rijksrecherche Coordination Committee (CCR) decides if and when an investigation will actually be conducted by the rijksrecherche. The rijksrecherche is therefore not deployed for the general police task that is identifiable for everyone, nor does it have around the clock staffing or shiftwork. Nonetheless, the rijksrecherche is always within reach for urgent deployment outside business hours, by way of on-call duty (in the event of shooting incidents involving police officers and injuries, for example). Once called in, the rijksrecherche will in most cases be on the scene within the hour.
Visiting address: Postal address:
Kanonstraat 4 PO Box 16424
2514 AR The Hague 2500 BK The Hague
The Netherlands The Netherlands