The Law Enforcement Council is an independent regulatory body, established by the Kingdom Act of October 10, 2010. The Council is responsible for the general inspection of the following organizations:
• the police force, the police training and the Public Prosecution Service;
• establishments and institutions in which custodial sentences, sentences restricting liberty, measures depriving liberty or restricting liberty are enforced, or rehabilitation or as the case may be, victim care take place;
• other organizations designated as such by national ordinance or by law, which are the responsibility of the Minister referred to in the Kingdom Act and which are part of the judicial chain.
The Council conducts these inspections on effectiveness, executive quality and management.
The Council is also responsible for the general inspection of the quality and effectiveness of the judicial cooperation between countries.
The Council has statutory powers and performs its tasks, regardless of the institutions concerned and the responsible ministers. However, after consultation with the Council, the Ministers may issue directions regarding the implementation of the Council’s annual plan. Such directions, however, may not relate to the method to be applied, the judgment of the Council and its investigation report (Art. 4 Kingdom Act). Under Art 21 of the Kingdom Act the minister concerned may also request the Council to conduct an investigation into an institution. The same applies in this respect.
In pursuance of Art 16 of the Kingdom Act, the Council lays down a procedure protocol of its duties, which protocol is made public. Such protocol sets out information on the procedure and the duties of due care to be observed by the Council in performing its inspection duties.
In this protocol the following terms are defined as stated below:
a. Countries: Curaçao, St Maarten and the Netherlands, to the extent Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are concerned;
b. Council: The Law Enforcement Council referred to in Article 2, first paragraph of the Kingdom Act for the Law Enforcement Council;
c. The Minister: The Minister referred to in the Kingdom Act for the Law Enforcement Council;
d. Institution(s): Judicial services and / or institutions as well as other organizations designated as such by law, which are the responsibility of the Minister and are part of the judicial chain and object of investigation as referred to in Art 3 of the Kingdom Act for the Law Enforcement Council
The inspection process
The Board distinguishes the following types of inspections:
a. Screening, in the course of which the inspection is focused on a comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness, the quality of the execution of duties and the management of the institutions;
b. Theme-examination, in the course of which the inspection is focused on a (part of) the judicial chain on effectiveness, quality of service and the management thereof;
c. Revision research, on a request thereto by the Minister concerned under Art. 21 paragraph 2 of the Kingdom Act, in the course of which the inspection is focused on a full or partial review of the effectiveness, the quality of execution of duties and the management of the institutions;
d. Follow-up investigation, in the course of which the inspection is focused on assessing how the agency or institution acted upon earlier findings and recommendations of the Council, as set out in an inspection report in Article 30 of the Kingdom Act.
The said investigations may also pertain to the cooperation and the forms of cooperation within the judicial chain and between countries. (Time and again the Council will inform the institutions concerned which type of inspection is carried out).
The Council lays down a plan in which its intended activities are justified. This annual plan is sent to the Ministers who then send it to the representative bodies.
Execution of the inspections
For each survey, an assessment framework is set whereby the prevailing standards for the survey are determined. The assessment framework is based on the existing international and national rules for the relevant institute or the relevant form of cooperation. These may include defined policy frameworks, guidelines, instructions and cooperation agreements. In case the rules are missing or incomplete, the Council itself will (partly) adopt the assessment framework. In adopting the same, external experts may be involved.
For the purpose of the inspection the Council conducts a preliminary investigation. This investigation covers study reports, plans, reports on findings of scientific studies, previous inspection reports, media reports and other relevant documents and sources of knowledge in connection with the investigation.
At least four weeks prior to the start of the inspection, the relevant institution receives a notification regarding the upcoming inspection. In this letter the Council should mention, in any case, what type of inspection is concerned and when the same will take place. If possible at that stage, the letter mentions as well whom the Council would like to speak to and what files the Council would like to see. In the letter it is requested to appoint a contact person as well as to make available to the Council, the information as deemed necessary for the inspection.
If the Council deems such necessary, an inspection is conducted without prior notice.
In special cases the Council may allow an institution where an inspection will be held, to carry out a self-assessment preparatory to the upcoming inspection by the Council, in order to identify relevant areas and subjects for inspection. This is stated in the notification.
If the institution agrees to the self-assessment, it commits itself to finalize the self-assessment within a period to be determined by the Council, in accordance with a framework to be established by the Council and to report the findings to the Council.
The Council may render support to the department in developing a self-assessment instrument.
The Council informs the requesting department of the opinion of the Council on the self-assessment account or report.
Reporting/ hearing both parties of the argument
The Council forwards the draft inspection report or, in case of an investigation involving multiple institutions, the part of the draft inspection report relevant to the institution concerned, to the institution in question and allows the institution to comment on the draft inspection report within two weeks in the sense that factual errors or misunderstandings are rectified in the draft inspection report.
On receipt of the response of the institution or after the response period, the Council allows the Minister a two-week period to comment on the inspection report in the sense that factual errors or misunderstandings are rectified.
On receipt of the Minister’s response or after the response period, the Council adopts the report.
The Council may make recommendations to the Minister on possible actions to be taken. The recommendations are included in the inspection report to be adopted by the Council.
Inspection reports are made public except for exceptional cases referred to in the Kingdom Act. Disclosure takes place no sooner than six weeks after the report has been sent to the Minister. Disclosure takes place via the Internet page of the Council.
The Council may decide to further explain a published report through press releases, interviews with representatives of the media or otherwise.
Observance of recommendations
Under Article 32 of the Kingdom Act, if the Minister systematically fails to comply with the recommendations of the Council, the latter may inform the representative body of the country concerned and the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Based on at least two follow-up inspections following an inspection report, the Council decides whether the Minister consistently fails to comply with the recommendations.
Derogation from the procedure. Assessment. Entry into force
In special cases the Council may decide to derogate from the aforementioned procedure. The decision is notified to the institution to be inspected in writing with substantiation.
The Council will review the protocol no later than two years following its entry into force based on practical experiences. Such review may lead to amendments to the protocol. An adapted text of the protocol will be announced in the prescribed manner.
This protocol will become effective on the day of its publication on the Internet page of the Council.
Adopted by the Council on September 28, 2011.