Two Centuries of the Police Force and Changes in the Law The Editorial Board has asked me ‘to reflect upon the institutional history of the police with regard to the altered norms of justice’. I limited myself to the principles and rules of constitutional and criminal law. In my view, Fijnaut pays little attention in his book to the combined action of basic constitutional tenets, requirements and principles on the one hand, and the integration and functioning of the police within the Dutch state system on the other, although he does consider the police to be a government institution pur sang.
The development of the principle of legality, in particular (which means that an action cannot be deemed punishable, nor be punished, without first going through the proper legal channels) is underexposed. Put more generally, many chapters only refer in passing to the interaction between developments within criminal law and the duties of the police, including how the police interpret and implement their duties. The latter are indeed an explicit part of the analytical framework of Fijnaut’s book.
This review is part of the discussion forum 'De geschiedenis van de Nederlandse politie' (Cyrille Fijnaut).