On ongoing fieldwork and zooming in on police experiences

Laura Keesman – University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology

17 April, 2019

Reading time: 7-8 minutes

A few days ago the Dutch police published new figures on how often police officers encountered violence in the year 2018. Several media outlets reported that violence against officers had increased to around 10.600 cases, which comes down to roughly 25 instances of violence a day. Incidents range from verbal violence (5.000 cases) to physical violence during resisting an arrest (2.600 times), followed by violent encounters during nightlife (1.400) and so forth (Nos.nl, 2019; Nu.nl, 2019). Some media outlets made the effort of talking to officers who experienced violence to share their story. In this blog I want to highlight that police officers experience are an absolute must to understand these new figures on violence. [..]


Violence and the police, why do we need more research on this?

Laura Keesman

27 March, 2018

Reading time: 6-7 minutes

 Headline reads: “Man died after incident with the police in Waddinxveen [small-town]: ‘Was possibly a confused man’.” In red: ‘Victim was supposedly hit hard by the police’ (source: Telegraaf.nl).

Imagine you are that police officer. You went to work this morning, probably hoping to arrive home safe at the end your shift. A call comes in: a confused man needs attention, and you are the officer send to respond. Minutes later you find yourself on top of this man, being called a ‘motherfucker’ and you’re trying to restrain the individual. Not cooperating that well, you shout ‘cooperate, now!’ to the person and you feel you need to resort to other measures apart from verbal instructions. You punch the individual in the side ribs hoping he will lower his arm so that you can cuff him, and consequently move him to the police car. These are all strategies you learned in your police trainings of course. Then, all of the sudden, the personl stops breathing, and eventually dies.  




flag yellow lowThis project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 683133


logo uva