In this study we observed the IOs’ demand for police deployment is increasing and is outpacing supply. The EU, UN and OSCE struggle with both quantitative and qualitative personnel shortages when it comes to police deployment in missions. NATO, although policing is not one of its core tasks, is prepared to provide police capabilities in situations when no other actors are present in a crisis area. The increasing complexity of police mandates in missions, the multi-dimensional approach to security sector reform and other forms of crisis management and the shift of attention from observation and monitoring missions to mentoring, training, reforming the police, or the whole security sector, and capacity building require high-quality experts and senior leaders and for longer deployment timeframes. In the case of the UN and EU, a shift to more volatile operating conditions has increased training needs for staff in order to cope with physical hardship and violence. The EU’s Frontex operations have witnessed an increasing human resources gap and the EU Commission’s initiative to create a European Border and Coast Guard might in the near future lead to a mandatory pooling of much larger numbers of border police than seen before.

The current security situation in the world provides the Netherlands with many good reasons to contribute to international crisis management missions. Serving national security interests is just one of them. In exploring to what extent police deployment in multilateral missions can address security issues which the KMar and the NP deal with on national territory, in this study direct security effects have been distinguished from indirect effects, also taking into account that police deployment abroad can have a reverse capacity-building effect on the sending organisation. The chances of establishing direct operational effects, meaning that police deployment abroad directly and positively contributes to ongoing national security efforts, should not be overestimated. For most operational purposes other forms of international police cooperation are more direct and effective. Contributing capabilities to EU operations related to migration being the exception to this rule, since the objectives of these missions are strongly related to the national police workload in border security and other security and humanitarian activities deriving from the influx of migrants. Apart from the EU’s migration operations, police deployment in multilateral operations abroad is more likely to have an indirect effect on security issues dealt with nationally, meaning that future spill-over effects from crises abroad can be prevented or reduced.

A proactive preselection of missions that might be interesting from a national security perspective and including national security interests as criteria that carry weight in deciding on deployment seems to be the most important opportunity to enhance impact on national security issues and efforts. If serving national security issues is decided to be an objective of police deployment in a multilateral mission, there are several other ways to optimise this impact: In the first place efforts could be put in influencing mandate and mission design and acquiring leading positions before missions are launched. Secondly, potential operational effects can be realised making use of the increasing possibilities to exchange operational and strategic information between EU’s CSDP missions and Europol, Frontex and Eurojust. A central interdepartmental coordination of the civil deployment to missions could be a further step in integrating and better organising and focusing the total Dutch ‘deployment package’ for missions. More direct contacts between mission leadership and/or headquarters and Dutch executive organisations and responsible Ministries can help in identifying the IOs needs, in bringing forward Dutch objectives and in promoting Dutch capabilities.

With both KMar and NP as donor organisations, the Netherlands has a broad and well-developed policing toolkit that in many ways meets, or can adapt to, the demand of the four IOs assessed in this report and to the national and European (security) policy goals. When it comes to the relative competency of the KMar and the NP, defining criteria for the deployment of either of the organisations cannot be based on both organisations’ partly overlapping capabilities alone. Mission-specific demands are variable, especially as long as the Netherlands decide to maintain its current broad pallet of police capabilities it can offer for deployment. In order to optimise both the quality of the Dutch supply to missions and harmonisation with national policy goals and the relative competency procedure, the relevant national stakeholders could consider focusing on certain niches of deployment. A clearer task-specification for international deployment of KMar and NP capabilities can then be based on the chosen selection of niches.

The central objective of this study has been to assess how the Netherlands can optimally adapt the police tools it can make available for deployment in crisis situations abroad to the expected future demand from international organisations, and, secondly, to its own (security) policy goals. Since the Netherlands lacks an integrated security policy that harmonises the agendas and efforts of the different security actors, these policy goals have to be abstracted from various policy documents and security strategies. In the main, the central question can be answered with the following recommendations:

In order to meet the IOs increasing demand, increasing the contribution of NP and/or KMar staff to their operations should be taken into consideration.

Specialisation in niches that fit both the IOs’ demand and national security objectives should be taken into consideration as both a way of enhancing the quality of deployed staff or teams, a way of optimising the results of police deployment from a national (security) policy perspective and of sharpening the Dutch profile as a supplier of policing capabilities.

In order to match the IOs demand, more high-level senior staff should be selected and senior positions in missions should be aimed at. This also creates a context that is optimal for addressing Dutch national (security) policy goals.

Investing in staff who are able to work in challenging environments and in rapidly deployable contribution formats is recommendable.

Organising more direct communication lines with the mission organisations can help in identifying the IOs’ or missions’ needs and in linking those needs to Dutch policy aims and policing capabilities.

Given the international demand for police capabilities, in determining the scale of Dutch police contribution to multilateral missions and in choosing niches a range of factors are of importance and can be weighed in at the national (or European) level. First, there is the question of values: how do goals such as the promotion of the international rule of law and humanitarian aid relate to more realpolitische objectives of national or European (economic) security and to commitments to alliances? Another political question lies in choosing the sort of instruments to deploy in crisis management: do the Netherlands and the EU want to profile themselves as civil or as military powers? Or as both? Then there is the question of effectivity that has been addressed in this study: to what extent is upstream deployment of blue forces effective in achieving national or European policy goals, if related to possible other instruments and to deployment of these blue forces on national territory? And, in specific cases: how effective is deployment of these blue forces under the flag of one of the IOs if compared to bilateral or smaller multilateral options? And finally there is the organisational question of what fits the Dutch toolkit. What capabilities are available and will be available in the future?

Based on the outcome of these questions, niches can be defined in terms of themes, countries, regions, IO’s and policing of police reform instruments.