The Netherlands – The police volunteers have been part of the police force for 75 years. An anniversary to remember. In the presence of King Willem-Alexander, the starting signal was given in Utrecht on Wednesday 29 March for festive gatherings throughout the country in which the 2600 volunteers are put in the spotlight. Policemen like Saskia.
Due to the threat of war and extraordinary situations, the government saw in 1948 that the police needed support from civilians. The training for the very first police volunteers was set up. Over the years they were also called reserve police or reservists. The threat of war faded over the years, but extraordinary situations remained. In 2023, the presence of citizens who work for the police in addition to their day job will still be highly desirable. “We will never, ever speak of ‘reserve’ again, because that word absolutely does not do justice to what you do. Not full-time, but always full-fledged,” said Hanneke Ekelmans, member of the police force management in Utrecht.
‘It enriches your life’
She addressed Saskia, among others, who opted for the best of both worlds. She wouldn’t give up her desk job, but three years ago she volunteered to support cops. Saskia: ‘It’s really an addition to my life, because I can add something to someone else.’ She became part of the prevention team and could often be found on the street. She is currently training to become a volunteer chief constable. ‘I’ve been at the academy on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for four years. To do this, you must really want to. You do it alongside your regular job and your family life. That means you have to drop something. For me, that’s dropping hours from my regular work and no longer watching Netflix on the couch. You are going to dedicate yourself to society. It really enriches your life. It is being ready to help without getting anything in return. Besides a lot of satisfaction, because you contribute to society.’
75 years after its introduction, the volunteer police are still an important supplementary part of the force. Hanneke Ekelmans: ‘Police volunteers work together with professional colleagues to ensure the safety of the Netherlands. They enrich police work with specific knowledge, skills and experience. Volunteer work varies from street deployment, cyber security and forensic investigation to support for implementation. The police volunteers look from society, through the eyes of the citizen. This makes them invaluable.’
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Information source: Politie.nl