During the past two decades, the police components of international crisis management missions have gained increasing importance.[1] The UN’s 2000 Brahimi Report[2] on improving United Nations peacekeeping operations called for, among other things, a “doctrinal shift” in the use of police and other rule of law elements to support a greater focus on intrastate reform and restructuring activities, after the resolution of violent conflicts. Since the beginning of this millennium the deployment of civil police or gendarmerie in international missions, be it under the UN flag, or in NATO, EU or OSCE missions, has gained weight, quantitatively, but also regarding the diversity of tasks and its relative importance compared to military components in crisis management. The increased importance of policing was reconfirmed in the first UN Security Council resolution to particularly focus on policing. This resolution 2185, unanimously adopted in November 2014, has resolved that policing should be included as an integral part of the UN’s peacekeeping mandates and special political missions, since it is an invaluable contribution to peacekeeping, civilian protection and the rule of law.[3]

In the Netherlands, the Minister of Internal Affairs decided in 2008 to raise the maximum number of civil police[4] staff to be deployed in peacekeeping missions from 40 to 100 a year. Civil police staff were from that moment permitted to perform executive tasks and to work under more violent circumstances than before. At the same time, for the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, a gendarmerie corps falling under the Ministry of Defence, taking part in missions had been one of the core responsibilities since its deployment to Namibia in 1989.[5] The Minister’s decision was not only motivated by the increasing demand - on the EU level the development of a capacity of 5,000 police officers for international deployment had been agreed upon[6] - but also by the expected ‘return of investment’ of broadening the international network of the Netherlands Police and intensifying international cooperation. On top of that, there was the desire to improve the link between police deployment in missions and the activities of the Netherlands Police on Dutch territory.[7]

This study assesses, firstly, 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. The first section explores what type of police capacities international organisations would want contributing countries like the Netherlands to deliver for operations in international crisis situations. In order to determine the UN’s, EU’s, NATO’s and OSCE’s future demand for contributions to police missions, this part of the study takes stock of these organisations’ developments regarding inducements, mandates, instruments and the actual organisation of missions.

The second part of the study focuses on the instruments available in the Netherlands for performing police tasks in missions. It zooms in on the capability and expertise that the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) and the Netherlands Police (NP) can offer for deployment in international crisis situations and on policy considerations that play a role. The possibility of deploying KMar staff in the framework of the European Gendarmerie Force (Eurogendfor) is discussed in this section.

The final part examines how Dutch (security) policy goals can be served by deploying police staff in missions abroad. Starting from an assessment of what these security policy goals are, this section explores the (potential) effects of the deployment of police staff in international operations on security issues that (might) affect the Netherlands.

The study results in conclusions on the expected future demand for a Dutch police presence in foreign missions and in formulating recommendations for shaping the Dutch toolkit and procedures for deployment in such way that this demand can be optimally met, while taking into account the Dutch national policy goals.

Research scope, terms and definitions


In this study the noun ‘police’ refers to a civil governmental institution responsible for assistance to the public when needed, the maintenance of public order and the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences. When used in the Dutch context, it can refer to both the Netherlands Police (Politie) and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Koninklijke Marechaussee, abbreviated as KMar). When there is a need to distinguish either of these organisations, the Netherlands Police will be referred to as such, or abbreviated as NP.[8] The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee will be referred to as such, or by its abbreviation, KMar.

Pew Research Center, Crime and Corruption Top Problems in Emerging and Developing Countries, November 2014.

Police missions

In this study, the term police missions is defined as the deployment of police officers in EU, UN, OSCE or NATO operations. This includes the whole spectrum of police tasks, including executive tasks, Security Sector Reform (SSR), international border security tasks and training, mentoring, monitoring and advising (MMT&A) functions. These tasks can be performed in different kinds of operations or missions, ranging from crisis management with an integrated approach, combining military and civilian resources, operations from the Eurogendfor, to purely civilian missions or European Border Security (Frontex) operations.

Included in the study are the deployment of police in:

Dedicated police field operations/missions

Police components in more comprehensive field operations/missions

Field operations/missions performing activities not directly related to police tasks

A police component is a part of a mission where police-related tasks are fulfilled by the police or gendarmerie staff.

Excluded from the scope of this study are police-related activities in field operations/missions without the deployment of police staff. This can be the case when military officers perform policing tasks. Also excluded are the secondment of police staff in secretarial or administrative organs of international organisations and policing responsibilities of the Royal Marechaussee regarding Dutch military staff, the classical military police task, as described in Article 4b of the Dutch Police Act.

Tasks and reform concepts

In the context of EU, UN, OSCE and NATO operations, sometimes different terms are used for similar policing tasks. Where needed in order to be able to compare policing tasks as performed within these organisations, this report distinguishes the following policing tasks:

Substitution (interim administration with executive powers)

Operations/ Operational support to host state police (e.g. maritime or border security assistance, anti-trafficking operations, the protection of civilians)

Training/Reforming (advising, mentoring, monitoring, SSR, etc.) Training and reforming tasks can focus on individual officers or departments, but also on entire institutions or sectors.

Monitoring the implementation of agreements

If tasks cannot be categorised under one of these terms, they will be specified where relevant.

More specific concepts, related to training and reforming police tasks in missions, are Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Rule of Law development (RoL). In the NATO chapter, Security Forces Assistance (SFA) is a central theme. The different actors discussed in this report to a certain extent use different definitions of and approaches to these concepts. The most variety lies in the sets of security actors that SSR deals with. A common and widely used definition of SSR is the one put forward by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD DAC):

"Security sector reform means transforming the security sector/system, which includes all the actors, their roles, responsibilities and actions, so that they work together to manage and operate the system in a manner that is more consistent with democratic norms and sound principles of good governance, and thus contributes to a well-functioning security framework."[9]

This definition includes a broad set of security sector actors, not only the traditional core security actors (armed forces, the police, gendarmerie, intelligence, etc.) but also security management institutions and oversight bodies, justice and law enforcement institutions and, finally, non-statutory security forces (such as private sector companies). When in this study the concept of SSR differs from this definition in a relevant way, this will be indicated and explained.

Security Sector Reform in most missions either implicitly or explicitly refers to an overarching Rule of Law ideal. The UN, EU and OSCE have formulated this ideal as one of their guiding values in different ways in their treaties and declarations and reports.[10] Operationalised for the field activities of these organisations, the term Rule of Law missions can refer to reforming different sets of institutional systems varying from an exclusive focus on the judiciary sector to all governmental security actors. Unless indicated otherwise, in this study the term Rule of Law- (RoL-) missions is used for what the EU refers to as ‘integrated rule of law missions’: a reform of the police, the judiciary and the penitentiary sector.

NATO’s specific contribution to SSR, besides support to other entities’ activities, is Security Forces Assistance (SFA), focusing mainly on military forces and institutions that are directly linked to military forces. Chapter 2 elaborates further on the boundaries of the SFA concept and its practical implementation.

Research Methods

The mapping of security issues in chapter 2 is based upon recently published in-depth Clingendael studies on the MENA region and the eastern border of the EU[11], and on the Clingendael Monitor 2015.[12]

For the assessment of demand and supply in respectively chapters 2 and 3 and for identifying opportunities to address nationally prioritised security issues by police deployment in missions (chapter 4), a total of 49 respondents have been interviewed from the EU, UN, OSCE, NATO, KMar, NP and the Ministries of Security and Justice, Defence and Foreign Affairs. In selecting respondents, a balance has been sought between the IO’s Head Quarters or Secretariat, Permanent Representations, Law Enforcement leadership in missions, international deployment managers at NP and KMar and NP and KMar staff with mission experience. The respondents are not referred to in person.

In order to retrieve lessons learned from earlier missions and mission deployments, next to the interviews, existing public evaluations have been reviewed, including earlier studies that took stock of NP and KMar deployments in peacekeeping missions. Further literature includes annual reports of the IOs, policy documents from the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Security and Justice, the KMar and the NP and several related (security) organisations.

In order to optimise the policy relevance and accuracy of this publication, an advisory group consisting of experts from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Security and Justice, the KMar and the NP has been consulted to comment on the research set-up and a first draft of the report.

The authors would like to thank Margriet Drent, Ko Colijn, Barend ter Haar, Paul Görts and Lily van Egeraat for their thoughtful and meaningful contributions to this project.
Brahimi, L., Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace OperationsA/55/305-S/2000/809, United Nations, New York, 2000. The follow-up of this report was published in 2015 by the UN’s High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO): UN Document A/70/95–S/2015/446, United Nations, 17 June 2015
Resolution 2185, UN, New York, 20 November 2014
The use of the term ‘police’ in this report is explained in the section ‘Research scope, terms and definitions’.
KMar personnel were employed in policing tasks within the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG)
Document 27476 nr 14, Netherlands Minister of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations ,The Hague, 5 November 2008
In some Dutch publications, especially when the fusion of 26 regional police forces into one national police force is discussed, the abbreviation NP is used to refer to the National Police (Nationale Politie). National Police is however not the formal name of the institution.
Security System Reform and governance, OECD, 2005, p. 20; For a discussion on definitions of SSR see: SSR Overview, ISSAT, Edmunds, T. ‘Security Sector Reform: Concepts and Implementation’ in Sourcebook on Security Sector Reform, eds. Fluri, P. and Hadžić, M., Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, Geneva, 2004
Report of the Secretary-General on the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies UN Doc. S/2004/616:4, UN, New York, 23 August 2004; Communication from the Commission to European Parliament ‘, Official Journal of the European Union, European Commission, Brussels, 9 May 2008; Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference of the Human Dimensions of the CSCE, CSCE, 29 June 1990
Gartenstein-Ross, D. and Barr, N., Europe’s Volatile Southern Neighbourhood: Policy Options for North Africa, The Clingendael Institute, The Hague, 2015; Gartenstein-Ross, D. et al, The Crisis in North Africa: Implications for Europe and Options for EU Policymakers, The Clingendael Institute, The Hague, 2015; Hamid, S. and Byman, D., HHAdversity and Opportunity: Facing the Security and Policy Challenges in the Middle East, The Clingendael Institute, The Hague, 2015; Drent, M., Hendriks, R. and Zandee, D., New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses, The Clingendael Institute, The Hague, 2015; Van Ham, P., The BRICS as an EU Security Challenge: The Case for Conservatism, The Clingendael Institute, The Hague, 2015
Rood, J., Van der Putten, F.P. and Meijnders, M., Clingendael Monitor 2015, The Clingendael Institute, The Hague, 2015