Video interview with LEEN VAN DUIJN

Director of National Security and Crisis Management at TNO - The Hague

Leen is the Director of National Security and Crisis Management at TNO – The Netherlands organisation for Applied Scientific Research. The core research focus of the department is to develop concrete solutions to security and safety issues in the Netherlands and, increasingly, on an international level.

Leen’s experience is perhaps different from many of his colleagues in the research organisation. His background is with the Dutch defence organisations. He was in leadership positions first in the armed forces, then with the military police force and thereafter he joined the Dutch national police force. His experience in particular in combatting organised crime is therefore based on years of practical field experience.

“Organised crime has often an international character, and is not concerned with the normal national boundaries that local law enforcement agencies are bound by. Therefore international collaboration is essential and information sharing is key when it comes to combatting organised crime.”

TNO also works on projects that activate citizens in creating a feeling of security in their neighbourhood. These include empowering citizens to claim their neighbourhood through a digital information sharing tool. Leen believes that activating civilians is key to getting a safer and more secure society.

“The law enforcement agencies need to trust and rely on citizens. When you have 17 million people living in the Netherlands, you cannot maintain that with 35 thousand active police officers. The first responsible is the civilian himself. When citizens act together and organise themselves, they can help law enforcement agencies in getting a view of what is really happening in a neighbourhood”

Having worked both with the law enforcement agencies and in the knowledge sector, Leen notices a large gap between the two types of institutions where knowledge gets lost. The lessons learned from large European research projects are not being disseminated to those who need them.

“I see a problem in the ability of law enforcement agencies to keep up with the fast pace of knowledge and research output. On the other hand, knowledge created through research projects and research institutions often does not find its way to the organisations and the people who could benefit from that knowledge. There is a lot of knowledge being created, but solutions from that knowledge is not being made. This is a gap that I think we need to bridge.”

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