Almost six out of 10 police officers agree that there is a culture of fear inside the force. In order to protect their jobs, four out of ten people have placed a self-imposed gag on their speech. - experts find it worrying.

norwegian police
Riot control unit's car of Norwegian police

 Over 14,500 personnel who were members of the Norwegian Police Union participated in the poll conducted by Politiforum. The survey's main topics were speech freedom and how senior management supported police personnel, according to respondents. The questions were answered by 3,000 police officers.

Nearly 60% of respondents think there is a culture of fear among the police, and 50% think they are not allowed to talk openly in public about professional matters that are not subject to a duty of secrecy or other kind of confidentiality.

"HR and top management practically implemented dictatorial management. According to a poll respondent who works in the Oslo police district, critical opinions are frequently regarded as disloyalty and are countered with arguments like "undesirable" or "uncultured."

"I would describe the survey's findings as quite unsettling." According to Rune Glomseth, a former associate professor of organisation and management at the Norwegian Police Academy (PHS), "Something needs to be done in this area to alter the culture and climate of expression and to foster trust between top police district and special body managers and the front-line police officers. 

According to Christin Thea Wathne, a criminologist and researcher at OsloMet's Norwegian Institute of Labour Research, 6 out of 10 people report that they have held back on speaking openly because of internal dread.

'There is no fertile ground for organisational learning if there is no freedom to pose basic questions about how things are done and where the firm is heading,' the author claims.

Similar results were reached in the master's thesis "To sit still in the boat" from 2015, which dealt with the culture of fear in the police.

 It is a bit disappointing, but not surprising, that after almost 10 years such a culture still appears to be a major problem for the agency, says Bente Otterstad, one of the authors behind the master's thesis.

The findings have not shocked senior researcher Anne M. Degrd of the FAFO research foundation. She worries that the police may lose some of the public's trust as a result of their fear-based mentality.

Cathrine Filstad, a professor of PHS, has been studying the police since 2015, and she is not shocked either.

In contrast to, for instance, hospitals or schools, which are frequently in the media when they are going through significant changes or political rules are enacted, she claims that there hasn't been a culture of speaking out openly in the police.

As a result, top management handles the majority of sensitive issues with the media. The police's confidence in the administration, however, is not very impressive.

Only 4.3% of respondents say that management offers helpful and understandable support, while 55.8% say that management offers little to no support.

One of the poll respondents claims, "The leaders are terrified of the media's spotlight."

The poll also reveals that 11.3% of respondents have been prevented from offering a qualified, outside opinion on a subject linked to their work in which they are an expert.

Four out of ten police officers have reportedly held back from speaking out out of concern for their own jobs, according to Politiforum. There is some doubt in this situation because the table in the case indicates that it is more like six out of 10. The estimate is disturbingly high, even if it is the lowest.

Source: Politiforum,
Previous Post Next Post