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Medal of Honour for lecturer Otto Adang at farewell

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Medal of Honour for lecturer Otto Adang at farewell

Lecturer Otto Adang of the Netherlands Police Academy received a medal of honour for Netherlands Police merit. He said goodbye today after twenty years as a lecturer in Public Order and Hazard Management. Chief of Police Janny Knol presented the medal to Adang in recognition of his special commitment to the police profession.

Adang is a behavioural scientist and has been a lecturer in Public Order and Hazard Management since 2004. He is the first scientist to receive this medal of honour. Chief of Police Janny Knol: "We are saying goodbye to an icon that meant a lot to us. Not only for the Netherlands Police, but also far beyond. In my opinion, this is an excellent scientist. Who sometimes held up a critical mirror to us. But always helped us by translating theoretical knowledge into practical applications."

"You have drawn a lot of attention to learning. The methods you have developed for practical learning. Such as peer reviews or knowledge mobilizations. Examples with which you have been of vital importance to the Netherlands Police in recent decades. Not just the research. But your contribution to education has also been of great value to the improvement of our profession. Your permanent passion for police practice is unmistakable. And that is why you receive the highest distinction in the Netherlands Police, the medal of honour", said Chief of Police Janny Knol.

Farewell with symposium 'Learning at all cost’ 

His farewell was celebrated with a symposium 'Learning at all cost' at the Netherlands Police Academy in Apeldoorn. With (police) professionals from home and abroad, we reflected on what Adang focused on as a behavioural scientist. The connection and relationships. To understand and de-escalate conflicts and contradictions. In a talk show led by journalist Merel Westrik, representatives from police practice, education, research and the outside world joined.

In addition, Leonard Kok, director of the Netherlands Police Academy, and police chief Frank Paauw also thanked Adang. And colleagues and friends presented Adang with a Liber Amicorum 'Met alle geweld geleerd'. A collection of personal stories (in Dutch) as versatile as Adang's work.

Football, demonstrations and the deployment of the Riot Squad

During his career, Adang raised various social questions with his research. Early in his career as a lecturer, Adang examined outbreaks of violence at football matches. The police still use the resulting conclusions and recommendations for crowd management. Not only at football matches, but also at other events such as demonstrations. These strategic principles for maintaining public order during risk events make the police approach preventive and proactive.

In addition, the investigation later also led to a change in the deployment of the Riot Squad. The Riot Squad became more flexible in their working methods, allowing them to work in multiple situations.

Research to learn

Adang wanted to encourage learning with his research. For example, the investigation into the police approach during New Year's Eve changed the idea that those violent outbreaks were 'part of life'.

Learning was also reflected in the research into large-scale escalation. Why, for example, does the Netherlands not experience ethnic riots that last for days? Adang described the four factors for large-scale escalation of tensions in the neighbourhood in the Adang/Horowitz model. In doing so, he also identified what the Netherlands Police do so well in connections at local level. In recent years, Adang has been learning about the use of force by Police Officers.

"It wasn't just a job"

Adang says goodbye, but will not radically abandon the subject. "The connection with the subject will remain. It is also partly yourself, what I have done all these years. It wasn't just a job." Adang wishes the police to continue learning in the future. "The best police in the world are the police who learn", Adang concluded.

More information

Also read previous stories about Otto Adang's research:

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