Tijdschrift voor Veiligheid

Article

Eerder verbindend dan visionair

Een analyse van de overwegingen van burgemeesters bij het gebruiken van de handhavende bevoegdheden uit de Wet Damocles

Trefwoorden home closure, Mayors, political leadership, leadership style, the Netherlands
Auteurs Ineke Bastiaans en Niels Karsten
Auteursinformatie

348563 Ineke Bastiaans
Ineke Bastiaans is onderzoeker en adviseur bij Necker van Naem.

348566 Niels Karsten
Niels Karsten is Universitair Docent aan Tilburg University.
  • Samenvatting

      Several authors fear that the expansion of Dutch mayors’ executive powers in the field of safety and security will harm their position as non-partisan and consensus-oriented leaders. Empirical research into how mayors use their powers, however, is still rare. From a leadership perspective, the current article analyzes how mayors in the region of South East Brabant in Netherlands use their administrative power to close homes involved in drug-related crime. Drawing on Fischer’s framework of discursive practices, we analyze mayors’ considerations in terms of the argumentation they provide for closing homes. Our analysis, which draws on interviews and document analysis, covers 27 cases from the police region of South-East Brabant and includes 120 considerations. Our findings indicate that mayors vindicate home closures mostly through policy-derived technical and situational argumentations. Vindications that aspire a particular societal effect, such as the reduction of criminal activity, or ideological motivations are rarer, which is indicative of a non-decisive leadership style. In addition, mayors mostly respect the local closure policies. As such, they show very little decisive and individualistic leadership. And, to the extent that they deviate from agreed-upon regional policies, their motivation is to be able to take into account unique local circumstances. In the use of their administrative powers mayors, thus, show mostly situational and adaptive leadership, which, rather than as visionaries, positions them as caretakers. The leadership style of Dutch mayor in the use of this administrative power is, thus, much more in accordance with their traditional bridging-and-bonding leadership style than some authors suspect. Some of the limitations of our study are that we have analyzed closure decisions from one region only and that real-life decisions are susceptible to contextual influences. At the same time, our study provides a rare insight into real-world mayoral leadership in the Netherlands in the field of safety and security.

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