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Herman Kist

Following a career as barrister, prosecuting officer and advocate general, Kist was appointed procurer general (director of police) in Amsterdam in 1877. He would maintain this position until is retirement in 1903. From his function, he advocated a professionalization of police practices with the Minister of Justice, along lines similar to Voormolen after 1894. Furthermore, he took up a political career: between 1881 and 1888 he was a Liberal Member of Parliament in the Netherlands House of Representatives, and from 1891 until 1912 he was Senator. Starting 6 October 1898, Kist chaired a state committee to research the improvement of the Dutch police. The committee primarily consisted of professionals from the field: Rotterdam chief commissioner Voormolen, Amsterdam chief commissioner Franken and The Hague commissioner Van Schermbeek. Remarkably perhaps, representatives from the Interior Ministry (charged with the rijksveldwachters) nor the Ministry of War (heading over the Marechaussee) were involved. Before taking up their studies, however, Kist represented his government at the anti-anarchist conference, held in Rome in November and December 1898 – simultaneously, Voormolen visited Roscher in Hamburg to study its organization. At the conference, Kist proved most active and participated at both the legislative and administrative committee, the sub-committee regarding extradition and expulsion and secret police meetings. The committee commenced its actual activities right after the Rome conference, on 23 January 1899 to study four issues: 1) improvement of the police; 2) national detective; 3) the establishment of a national police for public security; and 4) surveillance over incoming, foreign anarchists. Their final report was released in 1901. The report explicitly echoed the transnational experiences by its members, the deliberations of the Rome conference in particular. The latter included the literal adoption of the definition of anarchism, the focus on central surveillance over anarchism, the application of the methods of portrait parlé for identification, and the central collection and dissemination of intelligence on dangerous foreigners.

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