The Public Prosecution Service employs more than 5,000 people, including some 800 public prosecutors. Its highest authority, the board of Procurators General, lays down policy on investigations and prosecutions. The board and its staff form the service’s national office.
There are ten districts. The Public Prosecution service has offices – the public prosecutor’s office – in every district. Each of these offices is under the authority of a chief public prosecutor, who ensures that the policy of the Public Prosecution service is implemented in his district.
The public prosecutors employed at these offices represent the Public Prosecution Service in district courts. They are assisted by prosecutor’s clerks and an office staff, who may deal with certain cases themselves, such as traffic violations and other minor offences. They also do the groundwork in more serious cases which only the public prosecutor can deal with.
Appeal Court Public Prosecution office
Convicted persons and public prosecutors are entitled to lodge appeals if they disagree with a district court’s judgment, in which event the Public Prosecution Office at the appeal court prosecutes the case anew. This is its main function. In appeal proceedings, new investigations may be carried out and new witnesses or experts heard. The appeal court then hands down a new ruling (arrest).
The Appeal Court Public Prosecution Office (Ressortsparket) has four offices in Amsterdam, Arnhem-Leeuwarden, The Hague and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The national organisation of Appeal Court Public Prosecution Offices is headed by the national chief advocate general. Each Appeal Court Public Prosecution Office is headed by a chief advocate general (the public prosecutors at the appeal courts are known as advocates general).
The Appeal Court Public Prosecution Office also handles cases brought under article 12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 12 offers those with a direct interest in a case the opportunity to complain if the public prosecutor decides not to prosecute. They can ask the appeal court to order the public prosecutor to bring charges. in contrast to the proceedings in criminal cases, these hearings are not conducted in public.
National court structure
In recent years the Public Prosecution service has evolved from a structure consisting of independent units into a national organisation based on regional partnerships.
Court districts (arrondissementsparketten):
The Hague (The Hague, Gouda, Leiden)
Limburg (Maastricht, Roermond)
Central Netherlands (Almere, Amersfoort, Lelystad, Utrecht)
North Holland (Alkmaar, Haarlem, Haarlemmermeer, Zaanstad)
North Netherlands (Assen, Groningen, Leeuwarden)
East Brabant (Eindhoven, ’s-Hertogenbosch)
East Netherlands (Almelo, Apeldoorn, Arnhem, Enschede, Nijmegen, Zutphen, Zwolle)
Rotterdam (Dordrecht, Rotterdam)
Zeeland-West-Brabant (Bergen op Zoom, Breda, Middelburg, Tilburg)
Offices of the Appeal court:
D. The Hague
National Public Prosecutor’s office
There are two national offices in addition to the district offices: the National Public Prosecutor's Office and The National Public Prosecutor’s Office for serious fraud and environmental crime. They are not linked to a particular district court or appeal court.
The National Public Prosecutor's Office focuses on international forms of organised crime and the coordination of efforts to combat terrorism, people smuggling and similar offences. It is therefore concerned with serious crime that is not confined to the jurisdiction of a district court or appeal court. Under its authority falls the Dutch Police Services Agency (KLPD), whose task it is to investigate such offences.
The Traffic Law Enforcement Bureau also falls under the National Public Prosecutor's office and is responsible for coordinating the enforcement of road, water and air traffic regulations. it also oversees regional traffic projects in all the country’s police regions and on the main traffic arteries. Special police teams concentrate on five key areas: safety helmets, seat belts, compliance with traffic signals, alcohol and speed limits.
The National Public Prosecutor’s office for serious fraud and environmental crime and asset confiscation
The National Public Prosecutor’s Office for serious fraud and environmental crime and asset confiscation is responsible for tackling fraud and environmental offences, and handles complex proceeds of crime cases. To that end, it exercises authority over the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) and the special investigation services of the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), the Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) Inspectorate, and the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). Police investigations of environmental offences are conducted under the authority of this office, which also serves as the Public Prosecution Service’s centre of expertise on proceeds of crime legislation.
Central Processing Unit
The Central Processing Unit handles large numbers of standard cases for the Public Prosecutor’s Offices. These include minor traffic violation appeals and two types of criminal offence: drink driving and driving without insurance. Central processing is used wherever possible in standard cases, to enhance quality and maximise the number of cases dealt with. More cases will be handled in this way in the future.
Service Centre for the Public Prosecution Service
The DVOM is a shared service provider which performs operational management tasks for the offices of the Public Prosecution service at district court, appeal court and national level. It supplies products and services in the fields of staffing, finance, information management and facilities management.
Office for Criminal Law Studies
The Office for Criminal Law Studies has two main tasks. First, it acts as a knowledge and documentation centre on legal matters for the Public Prosecution Service as a whole. Second, it conducts research or commis- sions outside experts to do so.
National Police Internal Investigations Department
The National Police Internal Investigations Department is a small, highly specialised investigation service. it is responsible for handling complaints about the conduct of government officials and public servants. For example, it investigates allegations of fraud or corruption against police officers, the Public Prosecution Service, and staff employed by the municipal, provincial and central authorities. The National Police Internal Investigations Department also routinely investigates cases involving injury or death following the use of firearms by the police. The same applies in the event of a detainee’s death in prison or a police station.