University of Twente Student Theses


De politiële naleving van het protocol Huiselijk Geweld

Tegeler, Karin (2009) De politiële naleving van het protocol Huiselijk Geweld.

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Abstract:During the last few years, domestic violence acquired a lot of attention, not only in the media, but also from politicians, resulting in various guidelines and protocols for police officers on how to act when they are confronted with this kind of violence. The developed protocols and guidelines should ensure that cases of domestic violence are better dealt with. However, those rules themselves cannot ensure that police officers involved will actually consider domestic violence as a serious problem and will act in accordance with the rules laid down in the guidelines and protocols. Moreover, it is not possible to create rules that cover every situation and therefore can always be applied. The questions whether police officers always act in accordance with the guidelines and protocols or if they deviate from the rules and which factors may explain such deviation are therefore interesting to investigate. Therefore, my research question is: “How do police officers react on reports of domestic violence and is this reaction in accordance with the way they should react as laid down the Protocol? If the reaction differs what explanations can be given for these deviations? This research question is, given the theories of Lipksy (1980) and Terpstra (2008) not surprising. Lipsky’s theory described police officers as employees working in a public organization and with direct contact with citizens. Next to this there is also a mutual dependency between the employees and the citizens. These type of employees take decisions, that influence the lives of the citizens, for instance by imposing a fine. The decisions that the employees make are based on an assessment of the individual circumstances and policy. Lipsky also argued that no policy could ever be applied to all situations, because the system cannot take every possible situation into account. 5 The theory of Lipsky is supported by the theory of Terpstra. Therefore the latter can also be used for my research. Terpstra examined whether and to what extend policy priorities can affect the actual work carried out. He distinguished several factors such as the time and capacity that are available, and the extent to which priorities that are set match with the practice that already exists. These theories will help me in obtaining the answers to my research question. The central question has been divided into four (sub)questions. These questions have been answered by using various sources from the police corps in Brabant North. For instance; I examined the Protocol in order to get a clear view of the ordained approach of domestic violence. In addition, I examined the Business Process System (BPS) of the Police corps (in which the observations of the police officers and reports are noted). Due to this I’ve been able to get a good perceptive of the approach of domestic violence both in theory as well as in practice. Next to examining the BPS system I also interviewed several police officers to support the data I gathered. These conversations helped me to understand the actions and motives of police officers when they act on a call of domestic violence. They also helped me to outline the factors that influenced them to act in accordance with the Protocol or to deviate from it, when they are confronted with domestic violence Please find below the results for each of the four sub questions 1) Which Protocols and guidelines regarding the response to domestic violence are applicable within the police corps of Brabant North? There is a clear Protocol which allows police officers to adept their actions to different cases of domestic violence. This Protocol, called the Domestic Violence Protocol, is broken down into four separate procedures that a police officer should follow: Procedure 1, when no report is made and no one is arrested. Procedure 2 when a report is made but no one is arrested. Procedure 3 in which a report and a person gets arrested. And finally there’s Procedure 4, when no report was made but a person gets detained. 6 2) How do police officers act when they are confronted with a form of domestic violence? By studying data from the police over a period of 2.5 months and by interviewing a number of police officers I examined how police officers act when they are confronted with domestic violence. According to the data, police officers mostly followed the steps of the Protocol. From the data it appeared that only in a few cases the actions deviated from the Protocol. (e.g. not arresting some one while it should have been done based on the Protocol). 3) To what extent do police officers act conform the Protocol when they are confronted with domestic violence? The results from the previous question showed that police officers, mostly act in accordance with the Protocol. However the results also showed a few cases in which there was a deviation from the Protocol. This result was, due to Lipsky, no surprise: Policy can, after all, never enclose every situation imaginary because reality is too complicated. The information provided to me by the police officers during the interviews and the data I examined affirmed Lipksy’s theory and showed a discrepancy between policy and practice. The responses that varied from the Protocol consisted out of two types of mistakes: those that were made unconsciously as those mistakes the police officers made deliberately. 4) How can the deviations between policy and implementation be explained? The deviations I identified could not be explained by a single factor. There appeared to be several factors that result in deviations from the Protocol. These factors consisted out of; police officers who are to busy with other cases, an understaffed bureau, the abuse of the Protocol by the parties involved, information that was not available or was available too late. The last factor I identified as a reason for police officers to deviate from the Protocol was the human element. According to the police officers every situation should be individually assessed for the best course of action. 7 Other deviations from the protocol consisted out of mistakes that were made unconsciously but still resulted in a deviation from the Protocol. In this case it involved the following facts: relevant information was noted but was not used, information that was not imported into the system and providing advice to a suspect of domestic violence while action should have been taken. The factors that I identified in my research and the factors from the theories show a large overlap. The only factor that did not appear in the theories was the factor concerning the part were relevant information that was not accessed on time. Both theories did not include problems with computer systems that don’t change information. The procedures in the Protocol are arranged in such a way the police officers know exactly what to do, however some improvements can be made. The next recommendations can be made: the better regulation of care for children who are victims (or witness) of domestic violence. Creating feedback to the police officers about the case in which they were involved. In addition, there should be more coordination between the relevant authorities. The final recommendation is that the terms being used for (ex) boy/girl friend and family friends have a stricter definition. By implementing these recommendations the number of deviations from the Protocol will be further moderated.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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