Politiegeschiedenis: meer dan een beetje zand in de vergeetmachine?

Translated title of the contribution: Police history: more than a little sand in the machine of forgetting?

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The author discusses the dilemmas a historian faces when he or she wants to contribute to the history of the police. It seems simple: truthfully reconstructing past events and convincingly explaining the origins of a past event, in the hope of increasing knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon. However, the sense of the past within the police as an institution is problematic and brings a historian in a different position than among historians. He or she does not stand as an equal party to the police. Even if it concerns events in the distant past, the police soon consider themselves subject of investigation and brace themselves. This defensive attitude is easy for the police because knowledge of the past is found to be downright useless in the organisation. If you are persistent as a historian, you encounter more than indifference, especially among police managers: an unwillingness to take cognizance of one's own past, arising from the conviction that a more widely shared knowledge of the past threatens their own freedom of action. Nevertheless, historical knowledge helps to look critically at one's own past, to imagine what the consequences of one's own interventions could be, and it thus strengthens one's sense of responsibility and of the rule of law.
Translated title of the contributionPolice history: more than a little sand in the machine of forgetting?
Original languageDutch
Title of host publicationDe essentie van politiewerk
EditorsElke Devroe, Arjen Schmidt, Lodewijk Gunther Moor, Paul Ponsaers
PublisherGompel & Svacina
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)978-94-6371-110-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameCahiers Politiestudies
PublisherGompel & Svacina
ISSN (Print)1784-5300


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