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Saniye Çelik on Diversity in the Police Force

The Dutch police force is struggling with diversity. Women, officers who are gay or come from a non-western background often feel unsafe within the police force. That was the message of this week’s startling distress call by police coach Carel Boers, who has been a consultant for the police management for the past 13 years.

Disillusioned, Boers quit his consultancy work effective immediately. The problems within the police force are not exactly a new phenomenon. Saniye Çelik, amongst others, spoke to Dutch television programme ‘Nieuwsuur’ about her experiences with the Dutch police force. Saniye Çelik obtained her PhD on the subject of Diversity at Leiden University and is currently working as a Programme Manager for the Diversity & Inclusion course at the Centre for Professional Learning (CPL). Previously, she has worked for the police for more than 17 years, both in uniform and in a consultative capacity.

What’s seems to be the problem?
Saniye Çelik is no longer employed by the police, but she recognises the alarming stories. ‘Although there have already been some changes. In the ‘90s there were posters of naked women on the walls and special films were watched during the night shift. These days that would be completely unheard of. So the situation has improved somewhat already but society has changed, and people have changed. The #MeToo discussion, for example, has created this big push for the desire to be able to express who you are and that is something that is happening within the police force too. And for a lot of people things are moving way too slow. ‘

Is there a solution?
‘The question is: are all the right buttons being pushed and are all the right actions being taken in order to solve this issue? It is not just about getting a lot of people to sign up. So far, they have not yet managed to create an atmosphere and culture that is welcoming to the people that signed up and that is something they actually want to become a part of.’

You can listen to the whole interview in Nieuwsuur here (from 15.12).

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