Ombudswoman calls for structural change in police force
Inclusivity and diversity in the police force need to improve, police ombudswoman Letty Demmers, wrote in her 2020 report. She added that there must be better guidelines to follow when it comes to internal complaints, as well as when it comes to handling PTSD among officers.
108 officers came up to Demmers last year with complaints concerning inclusivity, internal problems and the manner in which officers suffering from PTSD are dealt with, the ANP reports.
“Over the years, the police have had difficulty attracting employees with a profile that differs from tradition”, Demmers says. Within the police there needs to be more acceptance and presence of women, members of the LGTBTQ+ community, people from ethnic minorities, and higher educated people, the ombudswoman said.
She stated that there needs to be a change at all levels in order to “also internally be the police force for the people.”
Within the force there needs to be clearer guidelines on who to turn to with internal complaints. According to Demmers, there is not enough central direction in the police force. “While the procedure for external complaints works well, there is still a lot of uncertainty about who to turn to with internal complaints.”
The ombudswoman also said that there are not enough resources for officers with PTSD. All too often, she said, attention is mainly placed on reaching a financial settlement which takes away from the personal aspect of the issue. According to Demmers, it is necessary to look at how officers with PTSD can return to work, possibly in a different position.