Dutch police failing to increase diversity: report

Police
Police. (Politie)

The percentage of Dutch police officers with a non-Western migration background is decreasing, Nieuwsuur reports after comparing new figures from Statistics Netherlands to old police data.

In 2009, 6.8 percent of police officers had a non-Western background, according to a police report from 2010. Last year it was six percent, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands. This shows that the police's efforts to increase diversity in the corps are not having the desired effect. In that same period, the percentage of Dutch citizens with a non-Western background increased from 11 to 13 percent.

Cultural anthropologist Sinan Cankaya, who got his doctorate in 2011 on integration and ethnic minorities at the police, is disappointed with these figures. "This topic has been on the agenda since the 1980s. You can see there is little progress in this whole approach. And the presence of people with a non-Western migration background is of great importance for the representativeness of the police", he said to Nieuwsuur. 

The Statistics Netherlands figures also show that a relatively high percentage of non-Western police officers leave the police within two years of their arrival. "You cannot simply inject the organization with a number of diverse people", Cankaya said. "In the existing organizational culture, the police officers present must also move and create room for new views That apparently does not happen sufficiently."

In a written response, a spokesperson for the police told Nieuwsuur that "as a result of the government's policy" the police did not actively try to increase the number of police officers "from various (non-Dutch) backgrounds" between 2010 and 2015.

"The police want to be from and for everyone, a police that everyone recognizes and trusts. That is why the police have been catching up in the area of diversity since 2016. The police strive to ensure that 25 percent of new operational employees have  diverse background, without compromising on quality requirements. This percentage was achieved in 2017 and just not achieved in 2018", the spokesperson said. "For that reason, the police are making extra efforts to interest the desired target groups in police work, and are also paying attention to the (causes of) the slightly higher outflow of employees with diverse backgrounds."

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