After three suicides of police officers and rising tensions in the police force, the sector head responsible for specialist operations at the National Police Unit, Marjolein Smit, was forced to resign from her position. The resignation follows after intervention by the unit leadership of the National Police.
According to a police spokesperson, “there has been problems and persistent unrest” within the National Unit for a long time, and Smit must therefore leave. This year it is already the second top official who has been told by the National Unit of the unit leadership that his own position has become untenable due to internal issues. In the summer, the boss of the National Unit, Jannine van den Berg, announced that she would be stepping down from her position at the end of this year. She had been told by the police top that she could no longer wait for the outcome of various investigations that are currently underway into abuses at the National Unit.
Within a few weeks, the Justice and Security Inspectorate will come up with an allegedly very critical investigation report into the Operate of the National Operational Cooperation Service. Smit, who has now been sent away, is also responsible for infiltration actions at the police.
The results of an investigation will soon be announced, led by mayor of the Frisian municipality of Achtkarspelen Oebele Brouwer, into a police officer who committed suicide in April after working as a police infiltrator for ten years. According to those involved and colleagues, the police officer took his own life because he was outraged by the actions of his superiors. Chefs would not have kept promises about ending his duties for the so-called Work Under Dekmantel (WOD) service.
In December 2019, an agent of the National Unit also committed suicide. He had stated that he was becoming depressed by the way in which his superior colleagues treated him. He complained about bullying by colleagues.
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A third suicide occurred on August 8 of this year. The official worked as an account manager at the Deployment Coordination Office of the National Unit. A police spokesperson told the in August NRC that this was a private matter, but a suicide note that has surfaced shows that this suicide is indeed work-related.
In a personal message of 1 October to close colleagues, the dismissed police chief Smit writes “reluctantly” to resign from her position. “A lot of pain and sadness about the death of dear colleagues has not yet been processed. Leaving feels extra heavy because I don’t want to let you as colleagues down, fleeing or hiding from my responsibilities does not suit me and it kind of feels like that”, writes Smit.
She is transferred to the guard and security service. No new position has yet been found for Jannine van den Berg. A successor for the position of boss of the National Unit is also still being sought.
You can talk about suicide at the national helpline 113 Suicide Prevention. Phone 0900-0113 or www.113.nl.