The Bruges police district are refusing to stand in for striking prison wardens this summer, warns the Bruges Chief of Police Dirk Van Nuffel. Within a week he has called upon reinforcements three times to stand in for prison wardens, which calls into question the core police duties, he claims. Several work stoppages have taken place at Bruges prison in the last few weeks owing to staff shortages. Although a solution was found for the problem at Bruges prison, the CGSP (the union for public sector workers) is calling for a nationwide solution and is therefore continuing its activities to achieve this.
So far, 900 man hours have been spent standing in for prison wardens. This task encroaches upon some essential police tasks, such as action to combat drug crime or the so-called “summer Bob campaign” (for national awareness of drink-driving), bemoans Dirk Van Nuffel. In short, there may be breaches of security and road safety, he says. He is fearful of a possible struggle between the Ministries of the Interior and of Justice whose staff will suffer as a result.
On Friday, the Bruges police district again stood in for the prison wardens. “However, this will be the last time. I don’t care who does this job from Monday but I can tell you that it won’t be us,” warns Dirk Van Nuffel.
Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)