Safety First

How Local Processes of Securitization Have Affected the Position and Role of Dutch Mayors

By Ruth Prins

During the last two decades, Dutch citizens have become increasingly worried about a wide variety of public safety problems. Consequently, a new policy domain regarding local public safety has emerged and established itself in the Netherlands. Public expenditure on local safety has grown enormously and traditional problems such as disturbances of local order and petty crime, were soon complemented by newer concerns including drug-related nuisance, domestic violence and organized crime. As Dutch mayors are responsible for providing order in local society, all eyes generally turn to them when a new problem arises. The national government has granted them various powers to tackle new threats to public safety. However, not all sections of Dutch society are happy with these developments, and a public debate was triggered in which the Dutch mayors were accused of behaving more like local sheriffs, and less in accordance with their traditional role of shepherds of local communities. This research combines national and local studies on the position and role of Dutch mayors in local safety governance between the years 1990 and 2010, and concludes that an ever growing trend of securitizing local issues has fostered an expansion of the mayor's formal position, as well as new actions and roles in daily public safety governance. *** Librarians: ebook available (Series: The green grass / Het groene gras) [Subject: Dutch Studies, Public Governance, Criminology]


Publication Date: 5/3/2016
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789462364684