Federal police in dire need of resources to tackle organised and digital crime

Federal police in dire need of resources to tackle organised and digital crime
Credit: Helen Lyons/ The Brussels Times

The Federal Judicial Police (FJP) is asking for additional investment as well as 1,000 extra staff members as part of Plan 3.0, its vision for the future of the organisation, and to help bring the department into the 21st century.

As previously reported by The Brussels Times, Belgian police and judiciary regularly have no choice but to shelve serious crime cases due to a lack of detectives and staff to investigate them all. This has especially been the case since the Sky ECC case broke, which added enormously to the workload of investigators. Representatives are urgently calling for more support to crack down on crime.

"I am here with 18 other colleagues who are confronted with the same problem every day regarding how we can organise ourselves properly to face the most important security challenges in a digital world," Eric Snoeck, director-general of the Federal Judicial Police, said on Tuesday in the Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the Federal Parliament.

He explained that the various partners involved decided it was necessary to create a vision on how to tackle these challenges to make "a new organisation of the FJP that can efficiently cope with operational and other assignments."

Digitalising of crime

During the hearing in the chamber, various ministers cited Belgium's battle against the drug war waged by gangs as a means of highlighting the need for greater police resources.

Snoeck made reference to the most recent statistics which indicate that the police is 500 staff. However, he said that this information is already outdated. In fact, he asserts that 1,000 additional staff members are needed. They would be devoted, among other things, to investigating and cracking down on organised drug crime.

Terrorism is another area that requires greater investment to be dealt with effectively: "There are 200 people working on that now; we need at least 250."

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Aside from investing in additional staff, Snoeck called for greater funding allocated to forensic laboratories, the FJP's central services, information management, special units, and teams that intercept phones and carry out surveillance.

"Of vital importance are the investments in digital investigation and digital forensics; more and more crime is taking place via digital channels. We need at least 250 cyber investigators and updated technical resources and programmes, which evolve every three months."

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