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Dutch support staff stays until end 2014 at St. Maarten police

POSTED: 02/26/13

St. Maarten – One of Dick Schoof’s last actions as Director-General Police at the Dutch Justice Ministry was a visit to Justice Minister Roland Duncan in St. Maarten. Come Friday, Schoof will begin in his new job as the national coordinator for security and combating terrorism.

Schoof met with Minister Duncan on Friday to discuss police training and other issues related to the maintenance of law and order.

“The discussion about cooperation within the Kingdom with St. Maarten in the field of education has been going on for a couple of years and I deemed it important to speak with the minister about this,” Schoof said in a radio-interview with Andrew Dick. “There was a specific request from the justice minister for continued support for the police force with process supervisors and quality managers that have been made available by the Netherlands during the past couple of years.

Schoof described the relationship with Minister “Duncan as ‘excellent.” On Friday he spent the day talking with staff members in the morning and on talks with Duncan in the afternoon. “The way it looks now we have been able to bridge all existing differences and find solutions for them in such a way that the police force in St,. Maarten will be able to develop further in the coming years.”

Schoof said that the process supervisors and the quality managers, who were originally scheduled to return to the Netherlands early this year, will stay on their post until the end of 2014.

“The agreements about supervising the police have been re-confirmed, so that this is able to continue. We also made agreements about the exchange of police information and about information and communication technology. These agreements are satisfactory for both parties.”

The director-general was positive about the local police force: “There is an upward trend at the police force. The progress committee also sees it that way, but of course, there is always room for improvement. That also appears from the request by Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte and Justice Minister Duncan to prolong the support a bit longer than was originally agreed. The agreement was that the process supervisors and the quality managers would leave at the beginning of this year, but especially the quality managers will stay for another one year and a half. That enables the force to keep working on building up its organization.”

Schoof said that the prolonged support also has an additional objective. “This way we’re able to make sure that when these support staffers leave the police will be in a position to take over and to prevent a drop in quality.”

The 55-year-old Schoof was director-general police at the Justice Ministry since the end of 2010. He was especially charged with the formation of the national police in the Netherlands. Before his move to the justice ministry, Schoof was director-general security at the Ministry of Home affairs and Kingdom relations, main director of the Immigration and Naturalization service IND and acting secretary-general at the Justice Ministry.

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