That Justice and Security Minister Ferd Grapperhaus of the Netherlands is making 4.4 million euros available to, among other things, co-finance better education for police personnel in the Dutch Caribbean (see related story) is encouraging. It’s one thing to constantly talk about the lack of law enforcement employees, but another to actively recruit them.

There is no denying that assistance of Dutch police, border control and prison guards was welcome certainly after the destructive passage of Hurricane Irma. It’s also true that joint agencies like the Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST and subversive crimes unit TBO have made a difference in tackling particularly so-called white-collar crime such as corruption, bribery, fraud and money-laundering.

However, in the end any self-respecting community would want to be able to rely mostly on its own people to become future police officers, investigators, prosecutors and –perhaps one day – even judges. Relevant training, including – for example – law courses at University of St. Martin (USM) via University of Curaçao is obviously a key ingredient to achieve that.

The bi-annual Four-country Justice Consultations JVO held in St. Maarten confirmed that the regional strength of police forces has greatly improved by better safeguarding knowledge and expertise within the kingdom. As Grapperhaus put it: “None of us can face criminals who threaten our citizens and societies alone.”

It must be said, recruiting “men and women in blue” can be difficult if there are frequent issues regarding their legal position, salary structures, working conditions and secondary benefits. When exercising especially a profession with so much stress that literally may require putting one’s life on the line to serve and protect others, stability and peace of mind are extremely important.