Police need to tackle workplace safety despite fall in inappropriate behaviour

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

One in five people working in the police experienced inappropriate behaviour from colleagues such as bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment, according to an internal survey.

Around 32,000 officers and civilian staff took part in the politiemonitor, of whom 6,711 reported at least one instance of abusive behaviour.

The figures were lower than in the last edition of the survey, but acting head of police Liesbeth Huyzer said more work needed to be done. ‘Every case is one too many. Moreover we need to see if this downward trend continues,’ she said.

Jan Struijs, chairman of the national police association NPB, said abusive behaviour was more common in neighbourhoods with high crime rates because staff were constantly under pressure.

‘There are teams where it’s almost impossible to talk about colleagues who feel unsafe,’ he said.

‘It’s even more concerning because thousands of new police personnel are coming in, so we need to ensure that the workplace culture is safer.’

Chairman reinstated

The chairman of the ACP police union, Gerrit van der Kamp, was suspended from his duties a month ago after allegations were made of inappropriate behaviour, but has since been reinstated.

The union said it still had confidence in Van der Kamp as chairman, but accepted it needed to ‘look critically’ at its own hierarchical management structure.

It said: ‘The ACP workplace organisation, the leadership of the union and the chairman will collectively evaluate what norms and values are required to ensure a healthy, safe and positive working environment for everyone.’

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