1 in 4 policewomen are victims of inappropriate behaviour at work

According to a survey into to the well-being of police officers by the Federal Police Service; more than one in four female offices have been the victim of sexually inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The results of the survey form the basis of an article in the daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’. The survey also reveals that a considerable number of police officers are thinking of leaving the force.  

A total of 846 officers from the Federal Police Service took part in the survey. A team of 26 researchers analysed the results of the survey.

27% of respondents said that they sometimes feel like leaving the police service. 19% said that they often consider leaving, while 9% say that quitting the police is (almost) constantly in their thoughts. 20% of those that took part in the survey said that their superior never gave any consideration to the psychosocial risks involved with their work. A quarter said that this was done only rarely.   

Meanwhile, 26% of the female officers questioned said that they had been the victim of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.   

Minister: "Won’t minimalise the results"

The Federal Police Service says that it is treated the results of the survey seriously. "Unfortunately the police is no exception compared with other profession when it comes to the well-being of those that work for it. Over the past few years our people have been confronted with various reforms and heightened security measures”, the Federal Police spokeswoman Sarah Frederickx told journalists. She added that the police wants greater stability, a better recruitment policy a more flexibility when it comes to budgets.        

Meanwhile, the Interior Minister in Belgium’s caretaker federal government Pieter De Crem (Flemish Christian democrat) says that the results show that the situation at the Federal Police Service needs to be addressed and it should be discussed by negotiators for a new federal government after the elections on 26 May. The Interior Minister stresses that the result of the survey won’t be minimalised by those in the corridors of power.

Joery Dehaes of the Christian police union says that the figures come as no surprise. Mr Dehaes adds that “We have reached a critical point, so the cuts must stop. This is a signal that things can’t go on like this anymore”.