The central objective of this study is to assess how the Netherlands can optimally adapt the police tools which 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. This summary adopts a three-step approach: Firstly, the future demand for police deployment of the EU, UN, OSCE and NATO is assessed. Secondly, the relevant Dutch policy goals are analysed, followed by an exploration of the question to what extent deployment in multilateral missions can serve these goals. The third step is to assess the policing capabilities which the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) and the Netherlands Police (NP) can make available for deployment in these organisations’ missions and operations.
The demand for police capabilities of the IOs is increasing and outpaces supply. The future demand for police capabilities is to a large extent determined by the number, geographical distribution and the nature of crises and conflicts. The security environment of Europe is volatile and is likely to remain this way. In the Eastern neighbourhood, there will remain the major challenge of hybrid warfare, tactics which Russia will most likely continue to use in future conflicts. On the Southern flank of Europe, the (wider-) MENA region is and will most probably remain characterised by instability and a complex pattern of intra- and interstate conflicts. These zones of instability produce spill-over effects that affect, inter alia, the EU, such as increasing migration, transnational crime and the spread of terrorism. For the EU, border security has become a major issue in the course of 2014 and 2015 due to the enormous increase in migration flows from the MENA region. Most likely, security problems related to migration to Europe will grow in importance and have an impact on the need to deploy more police personnel to guard Europe’s borders.
The EU, UN and OSCE struggle with both quantitative and qualitative personnel shortages when it comes to deploying police in missions. In qualitative terms, 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, and capacity-building missions asks for high quality experts and senior leaders. From countries like the Netherlands these IOs especially desire the deployment of senior staff to perform leading roles in their missions. In the case of the UN and the EU, a shift to more volatile operating conditions has increased training needs for staff in order to cope with physical hardship and violence. NATO will continue to need police capabilities that can operate under a military command structure for the performance of executive police duties and, in exceptional cases for urgent SSR tasks, in conflict situations when no other actors are present that can take up these tasks.
For the optimal effectiveness of mentoring and reforming activities in EU, UN or OSCE operations, rotation cycles of police deployment should be extended to at least 12 months. Next to technical competencies, pedagogical and cultural adaptation skills, and political and conflict sensitivity are of the utmost importance. Since more UN and EU missions are likely to take place in francophone Africa, more francophone capacity is required and the desire to deploy more female police staff is expressed in relation to both the UN and OSCE. 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.
Several ways of bridging the gap between demand and supply have been suggested. More direct contacts between mission leadership and Dutch supply management can help in identifying the most urgent needs and also in promoting what the Netherlands can offer. Also, the representation of the Netherlands Police or Gendarmerie at the IO’s headquarters or secretariats, be it as part of a Permanent Representation or as police advisors within the IO’s administrations, can be effective in shortening communication lines and having a better grip on (the results of and the possibilities for) police deployment.
In the Netherlands, the most prominent policy framework for police deployment in multilateral operations is the International Security Strategy (ISS.) The ISS presents territorial defence, an effective international legal order and economic security as the country’s leading strategic security interests. It considers the EU to be the leading multilateral security provider from a Dutch perspective and it motivates democratisation and stabilisation efforts in EU’s neighbourhood by pointing out that events in these regions have a direct impact on Dutch national security and prosperity. Although the ISS is dominant, the Netherlands lacks an integrated security policy that harmonises the agendas and efforts of the different security actors, such as the armed forces, the intelligence services, the Netherlands Police and the KMar. In the case of police deployment, this results in the five most important stakeholders formulating priorities and policy goals that overlap to a certain degree, but are not fully harmonised.
An overlap of priorities can be found in themes like the prevention of cyber insecurity, organised crime and terrorism. Geographically, instable regions within Europe and in the EU’s Eastern and Southern neighbouring areas are commonly seen as the most relevant to focus on from a national security perspective, although in countering transnational organised crime, the Americas and West Africa are also of interest. A shared aim is to optimise Dutch (police) contributions to missions and, through mission contribution, to optimise the working and effectiveness of missions themselves. There is, however, a fundamental difference in the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Netherlands Police focusing on ongoing national security issues and, on the other side, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence and the KMar that have a more international orientation. The desire of the first two stakeholders to align police deployment abroad with the activities of the NP national territory has not been responded to in the ISS.
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. The final part of this study explores the question to what extent police deployment in multilateral missions can address security issues which the KMar and the NP deal with on national territory. For this exploration direct security effects have been distinguished from indirect effects and, next to that, it has been acknowledged that police deployment abroad can also have a reverse capacity-building effect on the sending organisation. The possibility of establishing direct operational effects, meaning that police deployment abroad directly and positively contributes to ongoing national security efforts, should not be overestimated. If intelligence is needed from abroad or cross-border operations have to be carried out for national security reasons, bilateral police cooperation or intelligence sharing via the existing bilateral or multilateral channels - or multilateral police cooperation in dedicated Joint Investigation Teams – is probably the more effective route to take. Contributing to the EU’s migration-related missions within the framework of Frontex or other EU operations is an important exception to this rule, since these 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, it is more probable that police deployment in multilateral operations abroad will have an indirect effect on security issues dealt with nationally, meaning that future spill-over effects from crises abroad can be prevented or reduced. These indirect national security effects might occur providing that the missions’ efforts in creating stability by building governance capacity are successful.
Several ways have been explored to optimise the contribution of the deployment in police missions to national security issues: the proactive preselection of missions that might be interesting from a national security perspective and including national security interests as criteria that have weight in deciding on deployment seem to be the most important opportunities. Influencing mandate and mission design and trying to acquire leading positions before missions are launched come next. The operational phase is the moment that security and reverse capacity-building effects should be realised. The growing practice of information exchange between the EU’s CSDP and the EU’s internal security agencies might offer possibilities for increasing the chances of national operational results from police deployment in missions. A further assessment of these possibilities and their outcomes is recommended. After their return, the deployed KMar or NP staff can enrich their organisations with valuable experience, the personal competencies gained and an enhanced international network and, possibly, with valuable knowledge about the security situation in the region of deployment. It requires a high standard of personal and functional briefing and debriefing procedures for the sending organisations to fully benefit from these advantages.
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. A central interdepartmental coordination of civil deployment to missions could be a further step in integrating and better organising the total Dutch ‘deployment package’ for missions. When it comes to the relative competency of the KMar and NP, defining criteria for the deployment of either of the organisations cannot be based on both organisations’ capabilities alone. Mission-specific demands are variable, so that criteria determining which capability should be deployed cannot be too detailed. However, agreement on a division of tasks is advisable. Both organisations bring a basic level of policing ability, enhanced by very specific skill sets. In SSR/MMT&A tasks, when a fundamental and generic reform of police is needed, both the KMar and the NP are in position to be deployed, although strict time limits on the duration of deployment can stand in the way of the KMar being optimally effective. KMar-staff are better trained for volatile circumstances and will be more suitable in highly unstable areas. When more in-depth expertise in certain areas of policing is needed, a decision to deploy the NP or KMar should be made on a case-to-case basis, taking into account the risk level in theatre, optimal rotation cycles and cultural aspects. Other relevant criteria are the type of local organisation(s) that has/have to be cooperated with, the nature of the reform tasks and the institutional obstacles that complicate the deployment of civil police under military command in NATO missions and the deployment of military staff in active service in the OSCE’s field operations.
In order to optimise both the quality of Dutch contributions to missions and to harmonise these contributions with national (security) policy goals, a specialisation in certain niches of deployment should be taken into consideration. The Netherlands could decide to adopt certain regions, to focus on themes like people smuggling, terrorism, or (other) forms of organised crimes, or to specialise in certain types of expertise, such as intelligence-led policing and border management. In this context, the UN’s deployment concept of Specialised Police Teams offers a possibility to have a better grip on the tasks performed and the effectiveness of staff deployment once in a mission. More specialisation offers the additional advantages of streamlining assessments of the relative competency of the KMar and NP – decisions to contribute are made more proactively, based on the chosen niches - and a sharper profile of Dutch policing capabilities increases the probability of getting them deployed.
The main recommendations that derive from this study are the following:
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.