Lees in 9 minuten

Learnings case National Dutch Police: Agile working in a police base team

Base team Venray - Gennep of the Limburg unit wanted to work Agile. The aim is to reduce the workload and workload experienced by police officers in all layers of the base team. There is always more demand for police work than the team can provide. The base team is highly motivated and wants to deliver high-quality police work within the limits of its capabilities.

Dennis van de Rieth is an Agile coach, Scrum Master and certified SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) at AgilityMasters.com. Dennis has completed a bachelor of policing, the course 'Intervention Science' and the course 'Coaching and counseling science'. Dennis has also followed various professional training courses in the field of communication and as an Assistant Public Prosecutor.

Dennis has many years of experience within the National Police and municipalities and mainly specializes in change management and organizational development. He feels at his best when he can deal with the development and changes of people, teams or within an organization. You can read his learnings and results in the case here.

Understanding the issue
The ambitions of a team are often clear, but take the time up front to find out which problems must be solved first in order to determine the ambitions. Once this is clear, examine whether the team and leadership are truly committed to the approach. Because in addition to beautiful moments, there will also be turbulent moments. Align expectations and ambitions and make good agreements about the preconditions. Development also requires an investment in terms of time and resources.

Start with the now, not where you want to be
Start development from the here and now. Thinking big is not a problem, but see where the team i reality is and start working from this lived reality. Start small and take the change one step at a time. In doing so, adjust the pace of development to what the team can handle in terms of both ambition level and existing competencies.

Agile is not just another thing!
Agile working is not something that comes 'in addition', it comes 'instead of'. This means that new roles, ceremonies and skills are taught and set up. Support and coach the employees in this, it helps enormously if they are told what is specifically expected of them. But if something changes, this also means that old (familiar) behaviors, meetings and habits have to be said goodbye. Self-acquired privileges can also come under pressure. This can lead to emotion or reaction. This is often called resistance, but this is not it. It's a different perspective on the same issue; help colleagues see with a multiple perspective.

Developing is a profession!
In addition to priority, development requires permanent attention. Police teams work in a dynamic environment and distractions from operations or circumstances are more the rule than the exception. Making a change 'just' or thinking after one workshop or heat session that the world looks different is unfortunately not reality. Therefore, rather embrace the circumstances and continue unabated, no matter what happens during the change. As a leadership and team, stay true to the agreements and goals that have been set. To guarantee this, there must be sufficient change capacity in the team that is disconnected from the operation. Change and/or development is a profession, in addition to availability, expertise in the field of change and development must also be organised.

Hassle! Is an unavoidable by-catch
The mechanical implementation of the Scrum framework is often realized within a few sprints. But this is where it starts because by holding the Scrum events there is almost a 100% guarantee on hassles under the surface. These signals should not and cannot be swept under the rug, because they are the best interventions that contribute to the growth of Scrum values ​​or Agile leadership in the team. Realize that it is a continuous process. For managers and coaches, an appeal is therefore regularly made to the competencies of resilience, creativity and perseverance.

English please!
Language is helpful in change processes, so continue to use the English Agile terms. This may cause some reaction within the teams. It helps that no collective meaning or perception is attached to these English terms yet. This challenges one to actively search for the meaning of the terms. If you start translating the English terms into the usual (police) terms, it quickly becomes equal to existing meanings of words. In addition, integrating new terms is also a constant reminder for the team that a real change is happening.

Good example to follow
The effect of good leadership in a change process is great. As a manager, you naturally indicate the direction of the change and what it should deliver. But you also have one of the most effective tools to realize the change (and it's also free), namely: exemplary behavior. Show the behavior you expect from your employees. The employees will often follow automatically.

As a manager, be concerned with the why and what, not the how
At work, you are surrounded by well-trained adult professionals. Treat these as well. As a tactical manager you deal with the why?, an operational manager deals with the what? question. If the employees experience meaning and have direction, they will arrange that the implementation (how? question) is in order. Good conversations between all team members about work and collaboration are the connecting factor. This requires trust, letting go and staying connected.

The illusion of the delusion of the day
Many police teams feel that they are ruled by the issues of the day. If you zoom in further on this, it turns out to be not that bad. When ad-hoc work comes in, first ask yourself two questions: Is the work that adds value to the outside world? And: should the work be done NOW? If the answer to one of the two questions is no, then the work can be planned elsewhere or possibly in the trash. This allows the team to keep its focus on the work that really adds value. And the few times a month that there is a lot of work, we tackle this with the whole team. In the work for a three-week sprint, a margin of 30% for ad-hoc work has proven to be ample. In other words: 70% of the neighborhood work can be planned.

Focus on work
The team cannot oversee all the work that comes in. So choices will have to be made about what will and will not be taken up. Make those choices up front and determine the focus of the team for the coming period. This is quite difficult in practice, work and responsibilities are divided among many colleagues. A coordination mechanism is helpful, resulting in more transparency and coordination in all activities. If there is insight, you can discuss it with each other and make choices. No more bringing private work to individual colleagues, but bringing the most valuable work to the team together. This ensures cooperation, energy in the team, less work pressure and of course satisfied residents and partners.

Give the team time to learn together
Hard work is one. But perhaps even more important is to structurally make time with the team to learn together. Learning together to do valuable work and learning to work together helps the team to grow. This promotes job satisfaction and the quality of work, and problems are solved at an early stage.

Change takes time
Ever tried to change something about yourself? For example, a healthier diet, more exercise or quitting smoking? Then you must have experienced that change is quite difficult. In the beginning there is enough energy and will, but after a while many people are back in their old pattern. It's no different with teams. If you have been used to working in a certain way for years, that also gives a degree of predictability and structure. Most people find that pleasant. If you start with a change process within a team, give yourself time to break through old patterns and incorporate new behavior as a routine. This requires patience and perseverance, but also time. A trajectory of one to one and a half years is therefore very normal.

Revenues of the National Police case: Agile working in a police base team

What has the team achieved?
In addition to the learnings, concrete results have of course also been achieved. At the start of the development process, the team set a number of goals. Extra focus has been placed on these goals in the coaching and supervision. The effects of this are listed below. These have been made transparent in a working form and tested in the team. The effects together ensure the achievement, growth and further development of the goals. And the coaching and guidance on the goals ensures more and more valuable effects.

Collaboration & team spirit

• Shorter lead times for investigation cases (BOSZ);

• The Frequently Occurring Crime (VVC) team is in a better position;

• VVC works proactively;

• Little discussion about capacity problems;

• Better feedback and communication leadership with community police officers and community            officers with community team;


Valuable & qualitative (neighborhood) teamwork

• Better connection between community officers and community team;

• Less 'I have emergency aid and can't do anything else'! mindset;

• Attention to safety problems in the neighbourhood;

• More connection with the outside;

• Flexible and agile at work.


Less workload & workload

• Delusions of the day no longer leading;

• Much more calm in the team;

• More conscious choices;

• It's fun, more fun at work;

• More results in work;

• Operational experts experience that fewer personnel care colleagues want conversations about the      perceived work pressure.


Colleagues are challenged on their responsibility

• More valuable work and less waste;

• Involvement of operational expert with district team is growing;

• Substantive discussions take place between the community police officer and operational expert on    security problems in the district;

• Room for professionalism among all colleagues;

• The community police officer is more concerned with safety issues instead of quality of life issues.


Related Posts