Norway’s state police force is run by women, as is the state police academy. That hasn’t prevented sexual harassment from permeating the ranks, not least at the academy itself, but now the leaders claim they’re cracking down.
“There’s been a bad power culture and a culture dominated by men,” said Justice Minister Monica Mæland, referring to the bad behaviour of male police officers within the rank and file and among instructors at the academy. A culture of sexual harassment of young women at the police academy, made worse by heavy drinking and men exploiting their positions to pressure female students into sex, was revealed in a study by researchers Dag Ellingsen and Ulla-Britt Lilleaas. They’d wondered why there were so few women within operative areas of the police, not least when women otherwise held many leadership posts.
“I expect this to be cleaned up,” Mæland told state broadcaster NRK. Police director Benedicte Bjørnland was also angry about the reports of sexual harassment, and that male instructors at the police academy had sex with female students.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Bjørnland told NRK. She said that more than 200 women within the police system have experienced unwanted sexual advances at work, “and every case is one too many.” She said the police will now “work systematically” to chart the extent of the harassment and change the culture at the academy and the workplace.