How is traffic enforcement organised in the Netherlands?


Since 2013, the Dutch national police force has consisted of ten Regional Units – divided into 43 districts and 168 Frontline Teams – and a Central Unit (previously NPSA). Traffic rules are enforced by the general Frontline Teams and the Traffic Teams of the Regional Units, which are part of the Regional Operational Cooperation Service – department of Infrastructure. The Frontline Teams offer basic police services (street patrols, advice on prevention, supervision of the catering industry, public assistance, basic investigative activities, enforcement of arms and ammunition regulations and legislation, opening hours of shops, and licensing hours). Since the police reorganisation, the Regional Units, together with the Central Unit, have also been responsible for traffic enforcement on motorways.

When the National Police Force was created, the Traffic Enforcement Teams became incorporated into Traffic Teams. These teams are involved in different traffic tasks, among which general traffic enforcement compliant with the priorities (Repeat Traffic Offenders, Distraction, Red light negation, Alcohol and drugs, and Speed), enforcement of ‘special road traffic acts’ (taxi issues, exceptional transport, rest and driving times), processing and investigation of motorway incidents, and traffic engineering advice [1]. According to the 2012 National Police Development Plan [1] the size of the Frontline Teams may range from 60 to 200 FTEs. A study by Terpstra et al. [2] showed the spread among the studied Frontline Teams to be smaller: from 130 to 176 FTEs, with an average of 151. No figures are available about the size of the Regional Unit’s Traffic Teams.

The deployment of Frontline Teams for traffic enforcement is determined by triangle agreements (mayor, Public Prosecution Service and police), the integral safety plans of local councils, and the national priorities of the Safety Agenda 2019 -2022 [3]. This agenda does, however, not mention road safety. The deployment of the Regional Unit’s Traffic Teams is determined on the basis of (regional) enforcement plans. On motorways, the Central Unit’s Electronic Surveillance Service enforces speed, in addition to enforcement by section control systems (average speed checks). This service monitors speed by radar checks for high-risk sections of motorways on the basis of risk and driving speed data [4]. In addition, the Public Prosecution Service has set an annual target of 35,000 police stops for Central Unit officers [4].

In the future, special investigating officers (Dutch abbreviation: BOAs) may also be entrusted with traffic enforcement powers. At the moment (in 2019) BOAs cannot issue fines for traffic violations. The Association of Netherlands Municipalities is in favour of the new powers [5] [6] to compensate for the limited police capacity for traffic enforcement (also see the question What is the traffic enforcement capacity in the Netherlands? ).

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Traffic enforcement

In the Netherlands, a sustainable road safety approach, in which measures in the fields of Engineering, Education and Enforcement (3Es) are… Meer

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