In addition to describing local security networks in the Netherlands, this paper discusses the main problems and contradictions in the practices and policies of these networks.
The first local security networks in the Netherlands were introduced in the late 1980's, and most Dutch cities have had many local networks since the mid-1990's. They focus on a wide range of safety problems identified in the jurisdiction served by the network. The organization of and number of participants in local security networks vary widely. The types of organizations represented in a network depend on the network's goals, its envisioned activities, and the history of the network. The police were involved in all the networks studied for this paper. Local government and citizens or entrepreneurs were involved in most networks. Other participants may be schools, organizations for social work, youth work, probation services, or a real estate agency. Generally, the police in the Netherlands have a positive attitude toward cooperating with citizens and other agencies involved in the work of local security networks, and many of the networks have been established under the leadership of the police. One of the problems with the operation of local security networks is the maintenance of ongoing leadership, commitment, and participation. Most of the agencies represented, particularly the police, have other core responsibilities that bid for their time. Many communities expected that the local government would provide the leadership for the network, but this has failed to occur on a large scale. Consequently, the leadership for the networks is often fragmented among several agencies or is passed from one to the other. Another problem is the selection of objectives for the network, which may reflect the priorities of only those represented in network decisions. 26 references