The Police Force Caribbean Netherlands must strongly improve the accepting, registering and processing of reports from citizens. The Council for the Administration of Justice concluded this in its analysis of the reporting procedure on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. A similar conclusion had been drawn earlier for the Force in Curaçao.
Glenn Camelia and Jan Schouten, respectively Chairman and Chief Inspector of the Council for the Administration of Justice, recently presented the report to Bonaire’s Lt. Governor Lydia Emerencia. For most people filing a report is often the first contact with justice. The findings show that several important improvements are necessary. The council realises the relevant organisations are still in the developmental phase and that many steps are needed to improve customer service.
The Police Force Caribbean Netherlands doesn’t have a clear and up-to-date description of the reporting procedure. Although it’s mentioned in the Organisational Plan Force BES, it hasn’t been worked out and described, the council concluded. Such a description is an essential condition, according to the council, for further, successful development of the process.
Neither does the Force have general guidelines on how personnel should treat citizens who file a report. There is a plan of approach for some offences, but not all of the employees involved are informed of this. Guidelines are an important basis for a consistent mode of operation, the council stated.
The reporting process hasn’t been laid down in the organisational structure of the Force. It is now being done by various departments and report complexity determines which department handles it. The same applies to the priority assigned to reports. Which cases are given priority and which department is entrusted with such is not arranged centrally. However, this must be done to have insight into the number of reports made, according to the council. Moreover, it will enable the Force to establish priorities more effectively and to anticipate trends.
The council also concludes that the quality of the reports taken down is often inadequate. The employees should receive on-the-job training, but the Force lacks clear, formal planning and vision regarding training its personnel. A bottleneck in the reporting process is that the population speaks several languages, while the knowledge level of the officers making the report could improve, according to the council.
Moreover, the employees receive insufficient feedback on the quality of their daily performance, while this is an important condition to improve quality of reports and of the organisation. A uniform and structural system of reporting could yield more reliable and usable information. These pre-conditions aren’t sufficiently present within the Force, the council concluded.
Registration could also improve on several points. The Police Forces on Saba and St. Eustatius and the Detective Department on Bonaire keep their own registration, because the connection to the management process system ACTPOL didn’t completely materialise. This led to fragmented registration and filing of reports.
Furthermore, reports are sometimes incorrectly put into the system, or not at all. It is important to gain a good overview of matters. This also will lead to effective handling of reports. The latter doesn’t happen often enough, especially on Bonaire.