The Rijksrecherche comes under the authority of the Public Prosecution Service. This independent body investigates alleged cases of criminal conduct within the government, including when a public servant is suspected of a criminal offence such as fraud or bribery.
A case may involve a police officer or a staff member at the Public Prosecution Service, but it could equally be a civil servant at the central, local or provincial government level who is under investigation. In addition, the Rijksrecherche is always called in case the police use violence against civilians. The Rijksrecherche conducts investigations when the integrity of the government is at stake, in event of a sensitive case and when any appearance of partiality has to be avoided In sum the investigations help to maintain the integrity of and trust in government and its authorities.
The Rijksrecherche investigators are police officers, though the department is part of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service. The main characteristic is that they are independent and impartial.
The legal basis of their activities is Section 49 of the Police Act. The tasks and interventions by the Rijksrecherche are described in an Instruction/ a Policy Rule.
Specific criteria for intervention are:
- Suspect is an employee of the (semi)government;
- A crime that affects the integrity of the government (corruption);
- Need of impartiality;
- Special expertise needed/delicate situation
Examples of cases the Rijksrecherche deals with are:
- corruption by civil servants;
- abuse of power by civil servants;
- use of fire arms by police officers with casualties;
- casualties after police intervention;
- casualties in jails;
- other criminal offences by civil servants.
The Rijksrecherche's task is to ensure honest government
The Rijksrecherche plays an important role in detecting and investigating governmental corruption. A public official, administrator or representative of the people has the capacity to make or break people's trust in government. It is therefore essential that they always act with care and integrity.
Its impartial status enables the Rijksrecherche to do its work carefully and objectively. The Rijksrecherche aims to make an important contribution to safeguarding the government’s integrity. Ultimately, the Rijksrecherche wants to contribute to citizens' confidence in the government.
In performing its tasks, the Rijksrecherche has the following priorities:
The carrying out of impartial and diligent investigations
The Rijksrecherche focuses on the detection of crimes committed by public/semi-public officials. Impartiality, detachment and diligence are important criteria in all its investigations. The Rijksrecherche does objective and high-quality work.
Strengthening intelligence through cooperation
Where possible, the Rijksrecherche cooperates with network partners such as the police, special investigative services, the Netherlands Competition Authority (Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit (NMa) and banks etc. It does so at both operational and management level. Rijksrecherche investigations must be carried out objectively, impartially and meticulously. Cooperation is therefore only possible if these objectives are not compromised.