One third of female police officers and 13% of men have had to contend with sexual harassment over the past two years, according to research by the Rutgers Nisso group.
The report, for the NPB police union, shows that ‘despite all the policy initiatives, there has not been a significant reduction’ in the number of police officers who have had problems with sexual intimidation.
In the previous survey, carried out in 2000, nearly half of the female officers and 16% of men reported such incidents. The researchers said that men and women were now better equipped to talk situations through, which had led to a reduction in repeat offences.
Nevertheless, more could still be done, the researchers concluded. Little use was made of disciplinary measures, and police officers were reluctant to take action against their superiors who were the perpetrators in over 50% of cases.
Efforts to reduce bullying, however, had not led to a change in behaviour, with four in 10 police officers saying they had been bullied over the past six months. However, female, gay and ethnic minority officers were no longer more likely to be targeted than white male officers, the researchers said.
Police chief Magda Berdsen said the police force was undergoing a cultural change. ‘It is a question of taking a deep breath,’ she told ANP. ‘At least police culture is more open now and that is an important condition for reducing the problem.’
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