In a conversation with the creators of Politie 24/7

In a conversation with the creators of Politie 24/7

12/04/2023 - 08:57

Niek Driehuis and Lisa Martens – both BUas Creative Business graduates – won a Televizier-Ring for best online video series with the Police Netherlands social media team.
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Showing effective policing as a means to create trust. That is what the creators have in mind for the Politie 24/7 series that can be seen on YouTube and Instagram, among other channels. Those creators are Niek Driehuis and Lisa Martens. Niek graduated in 2017, is a freelance producer and content specialist at Police Netherlands. Lisa received her degree in 2023 and immediately started working as a videographer for the police department. In October, they won a Televizier-Ring for best online video series with Politie 24/7.   

‘It remains a mystery as to why exactly we won,’ Niek starts, ‘we were mostly an oddity next to the other nominees in the finals; those were Monica Geuze and the FOMO Show. It shows the impact of your work and that does feel really good.’  

‘I remember you walking around being completely stunned for the first few hours,’ Lisa tells Niek. ‘I myself was no less surprised, I had just started working after my studies and then we immediately win a prize!’  

‘Never thought I would ever win a prize filming with GoPros,’ Niek laughs. ‘I – as a camera nerd – was always all about the pretty pictures and the most sophisticated cameras. This is really different.’  

I meet Niek and Lisa at the BUas campus just before their guest lecture for Creative Business students. What will you tell the students? 

‘We are going to talk mostly about our own experiences. Those are the kind of lessons I missed a bit when I was a student,’ Niek says. ‘What is it like to start when you have just graduated? What are the struggles? But also, what patterns do you see? What we clearly see with our video series is that authentic content works. We also had this researched by an independent agency. These police officers are not actors, it is all real, we especially want to show the human side.’ 

‘For the officers, that was not always easy,’ Lisa adds, ‘we really had to teach them how to handle a GoPro camera. Talk to the camera as if you are talking to a co-driver, we always say. It should come across as natural as possible.’ 

Niek: ‘That is why we use a simple format. Beginning - middle - end. Briefly state what has been reported and where you are going, show the action and conclude with how you handled it. The police officers are not creators, we are. We take care of editing and production.’ 

Lisa: ‘We have four cases of GoPro cameras scattered throughout the Netherlands. Above all, we want to show the versatility of the job. In Almere, for example, it is now mostly drug-related, because there is a port and because the Rotterdam port has become stricter. In Assen, it is often about speeding issues, since there is a lot of space there.’ 

You work in Rotterdam, still quite a rough city. Do you yourself sometimes tag along when a report comes in? And if so, how intense can it get? 

Lisa: ‘We definitely try to get in the back with the camera ourselves several times a year. Out of our office, into the street. One minute you are watching neighbours argue – which is really about nothing – and the next you are watching a child being resuscitated. Those are the kind of extremes you get to witness.’ 

Niek: ‘You also have to deal with drug addicts or confused people. I have experienced body recoveries twice. I was out with a forensic expert at the time. That really made an impression on me.’  

Lisa, you mentioned that you just started at Police Netherlands. What preceded it?  

‘I did two work placements with the police while I still was a Creative Business student at BUas and I also ended up doing my Capstone project (graduation project, ed.) there. In all three cases, Niek was my supervisor. I helped develop the Politie 24/7 video series and halfway through my second work placement I actually started running it independently.’  

‘It was not a new idea,’ Niek confesses, ‘you see it in other countries as well, and at Police Netherlands, some police officers had already taken the initiative to film their work themselves. We professionalised it with the social media team that had been created in the meantime. We mostly facilitate the officers; they are busy enough as it is.’  

So, you have been working together a lot. What have you learned from each other?  

Lisa: ‘Niek gave me a lot of space and confidence. I learned to work independently, which gave me more self-confidence. As a result, I was more daring during my graduation project. I created a video series in which police officers respond to scenes from television series such as Moordvrouw (Murder Woman). For example, a forensic expert watches to see if it is at all realistic. This way, we want to showcase the different areas of expertise within police work.’  

Niek: ‘In working with Lisa, I learned how to coach someone, how to set learning goals together and how to discuss progress with each other. That especially, so engaging in a conversation and continue to ask questions. My will or my idea is sometimes very strong, but you have to be able to give another person space to execute it. That didn’t come naturally to me, I really had to learn that.’  

So, now you are back at BUas' campus for a moment. How does that feel? 

‘Not that strange,’ Lisa laughs, ‘I still come here every week at Dungeons and Dragons, a BUas Club that meets every Thursday. When I was a student, I was part of the organising committee, but I can no longer combine that with my job. So now I am just a member.’ 

‘To me, BUas always feels right,’ Niek says. ‘I met my girlfriend here. Right during introductory week, at Camp Lost. She is now events coordinator at BUas, so I still come here from time to time. It has turned out really nice, the campus I mean.’ 

Studying Creative Business and then joining the police force. Could you have ever imagined this scenario?  

Lisa: ‘I could not. But I am very happy how it turned out. Of course, winning a prize like this is a great start. If you have a good idea, the police give you all the space to develop it. But you must be able to substantiate it well. I was quite nervous about that at first, but the organisation is not hierarchical at all. You would expect that, crazy really.’ 

Niek: ‘That is not the case, at the end of the year I just eat an oliebol with the chief of police – whom we also help with social media communications. It really is a special organisation to work for. If you step into the office in the Centre of Rotterdam during lunch hour, you will see a table full of food, often with one bite out of it. Then all of a sudden, they are all gone!’ 

What will be the next prize? 

Niek: ‘The Dutch Podcast Award! That is what we have set ourselves to achieve. I am secretly thinking about the Impact Award. Last year #BOOS with the broadcast about the abuse at The Voice of Holland won this award. It might be a bit tricky; I mean, we work for a neutral police organisation. But there are plenty of topics worth thinking about, so I keep dreaming!’ 


Interview by Maaike Dukker-'t Hart