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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78407 Find in a Library
Title: Everybody's Watching - Policewomen in Amsterdam
Journal: Police Review  Volume:89  Issue:4610  Dated:(June 12, 1981)  Pages:1142-1144,1173-1175
Author(s): S van derPoel; M Punch
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Discrimination against women in the Amsterdam, Netherlands police force is examined, with particular attention to the hostile attitudes of male officers toward females and poor management by senior adminstrators.
Abstract: Although women were introduced into uniformed patrol work in 1971 by the Amsterdam police department, they still have not been allowed to join specialized units. A male researcher involved with the Amsterdam police and a female assistant who spent six months on patrol in that city concluded that two central characteristics have thwarted any innovations: poor management skills and insights among senior bureaucrats and the conservative, irrational, and masculine attitudes that dominate the police occupational culture. Amsterdam police are known for their casualness and tolerance, but these qualities evaporate when they are questioned about women police. Male officers contend that women are unreliable in a fight, but complain when policewomen react aggressively. Women are condemned for not staying long enough in police work, and yet officials have argued that women should not be strongly committed to law enforcement because it impairs their femininity. Policewomen are accused of exploiting their sex to obtain favors, despite the fact that some men are experts at wheedling easy assignments. Policewomen do bring an element of sexual tension to the occupation and have been criticized by policemen's wives, but they are unfairly subjected to double standards. Prior to 1971, female police employees were confined to administrative work and housekeeping chores. Now the second generation of women is pushing to be accepted into specialized branches, such as the mounted police, detectives, and riot squad. In Amsterdam, very little thought has been given to the dilemmas of integration, especially the problems posed by the conservative, stereotyped views of policemen who are largely from working class and lower middle class backgrounds. Top management should formulate a consistent policy and prepare all personnel for the problems of integration. Instead of spreading women equally among all groups, different permutations should be tried and a sizeable minority of women placed in some units. The article contains six footnotes.
Index Term(s): Male female police performance comparisons; Netherlands; Police women; Sex discrimination
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