On Tuesday, 24 January, the GUTs Centre of Expertise at The Hague University of Applied Sciences organised the seminar ‘Community policing on social media: dilemmas and challenges on the digital street’. We discussed these dilemmas and challenges together with police representatives, researchers, lecturers and students.

Theo Zijderveld presented his publication on this topic at this seminar. The Dutch police have around 2500 accounts, from central accounts to the Instagram accounts of neighbourhood police officers. This makes the Dutch police quite unique in the world. The use of social media is a balancing act: how do you deal with work-life balance, how do you coordinate messages within your organisation, and how do you deal with proximity on social media and your safety when you are threatened? The recommendations from the publication are to develop practical wisdom with the entire organisation: learn from each other what works and what does not work, and pay attention to developments. Anyone can make news, but make sure you focus on the values and standards and what fits within your organisation.


Tolga Koklu, Head of Operations of The Hague Police Unit received the publication. Koklu emphasised the importance of social media, and also how the police uses it effectively. The police remains a learning organisation, and is always trying to find the right balance. Attention and support from management are crucial.

Sometimes a citizen has more leeway than the police.

Henry Koper, National webcare project leader at the National Police, Social Media Programme

Guided by professor Henno Theisens, we discussed current and future issues for the police. This ranged from very practical questions about what is and isn't allowed to the question of how you handle negative messages and polarisation.

We also discussed the question of the role new technology, such as artificial intelligence, plays in the digitisation of society.

Trust is important, even in the digital world! Give colleagues this confidence by focusing on professionalisation.

Malek Kariebo, digital community police officer

The conclusion of the seminar was that knowledge sharing is very valuable, and it should definitely be continued. We will talk to The Hague police department on how to structure this.

The entire publication is available for download here.