University of Twente Student Theses


Joint forces: a weapon against serious environmental crime in the Dutch waste industry - A research into public cooperation for the benefit of combating serious environmental crime in the Dutch waste industry.

Oude Geerdink, Femke A. (2012) Joint forces: a weapon against serious environmental crime in the Dutch waste industry - A research into public cooperation for the benefit of combating serious environmental crime in the Dutch waste industry.

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Abstract:This thesis is written on the basis of a question that is posed by the environmental police department during a seven months internship at the Brnon. This department daily experiences the consequences of serious environmental crime, especially in the waste branch. Some environmental investigators are afraid that this phenomenon might become even bigger and bigger, because our society offers great opportunities to commit the crime. With all ensuing consequences. In an attempt to obstruct and fight this crime, the above regional environmental police department (Brnon) argues that cooperation with other organizations is necessary, especially with other governmental organizations such as provinces, municipalities and other public investigation teams. The investigation consists of a literature review to gain insight in the current knowledge about environmental crime and public cooperation in general. Followed by a case study that researches the nature of environmental crime in order to find out what kind of cooperation is necessary. Semi open interviews with respondents from municipalities, provinces and environmental investigation teams contributed to the amount of knowledge about the (estimated) extent of environmental crime, moreover it provided additional information about the current and desired state of the cooperation. Respondents are divided into five groups: municipal permit granters, municipal supervisors, provincial permit granters, municipal supervisors and material experts, including investigators of the police and ilt/iod. The first part of this inquiry revealed that the nature of serious environmental crime in the waste industry is known very well. However, mainly due to its complicated and wide-defined characteristics it is difficult to get a grip on this type of crime and explain a solution, also in terms of collaboration. Environmental investigation teams contain a lot of knowledge about the nature, execution and fight of this type of crime, whereas this information lacks at provinces and municipalities. Both divisions lack knowledge about the extent of this type of crime, moreover there is a large dark number. According to its characteristics the fight of this type of crime necessitates a chain approach and therefore requires cooperation of different organizations. This enquiry focuses on collaboration surrounding the ground of the activities in the waste branch; the authorized Omgevingsvergunning. A joint fight against serious environmental crime in the waste industry requires agreed support. Although the first part of this inquiry illustrates that presumably many criminal irregularities are present in the waste branch, the second part of the inquiry revealed that public servants from provinces and municipalities do neither experience this, nor feel many incentives for a serious fight against serious environmental crime in the waste industry, by means of enhanced collaboration. Cooperation between public organizations is highly influenced by the organizational form in which the tasks are executed. The execution of tasks appoints the execution of permit services, supervision and law enforcement. The compromised theory of Van Delden (2009) and Powell (1990) explains three types of public organized structures: market-based, hierarchical and network-based. Research revealed that permit services works in accordance with network structures, but also contains some hierarchical principles. Supervision and law enforcement do not match exactly one organizational form due to the great variety in work methods between provinces, the involvement of many organizations and the fragmentation of laws and regulations that complicate work structures. However most characteristics can be addressed to the network organization too. Also in theory both domains could perfectly work in a network organization. Therefore important conditions and obstacles abstracted from network organizations as stated by Van Delden (2009) are tested to the current situation in order to see which strengths and weaknesses of the collaboration need to be addressed for the benefit of effective public collaboration. It is difficult to explain how public organizations currently collaborate with regard to the condition and obstacles for good network cooperation, because it highly differs. In general respondents had troubles with the term ‘cooperation’, and investigation turned out there is hardly unambigious cooperation in this field. Main arguments are (1) the amount of self orientation of provinces, municipalities and the police, (2) the problematic state of laws and regulations, (3) the absence of a culture for group binding and the fact that organizations hardly take the specific characteristics of other organizations into account. Respondents admit the need for enhanced and more effective cooperation, although not for the benefit of a better crime fight, subsequently a safer and cleaner public environment. Supervisors recognize opportunities, whereas licensors have troubles seeing them. The trust between public administrations is high, although the mutual trust between the police and public administrations accumulated some dents in the past and requires attention. The intrinsic motivation to cooperate more is mainly present at the department of supervision, but supervisors feel hampered by the current laws and regulations. Coffeemachinepolitics is a term with which all respondents identify themselves. It reflects the desired situation aiming unintended, regular, open and personal communication. The first recommendation is an inquiry on the extent of serious environmental crime in the waste industry. Subsequently it is important to educate provincial and municipal servants about nature and extent of this type of crime. Laws and regulations need adaption to the current environmental situation (new findings, possibilities and techniques) but also need to disestablish current contradictions and unworkable situations. Addressing these recommendations opens a road to the creation of sustainable partnerships in the field of environmental matters. The strength of these partnerships lays within social aspects of cooperation. In order to be more effective the procedures surrounding permit services, supervision and law enforcement need revision too. In order to combine high levels of professionalism and effective cooperation one cannot ignore the social aspects of organizations, therefore I finally recommend the classical RUD as the authority in the field of environmental matters for the future.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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