Few alcohol tests will be conducted on the night of the 31st of December to the 1st of January, the Syndicat libre de la function publique (SLFP, police union) said on Friday. According to the federal police, “only 35 officers are to be deployed and only to check speed on the highway”. The police added that they “will be supplemented by those intervention teams that have time at that moment”.
The police will work, as it does each year, with mobile checks on the night of New Year’s Eve – New Year Day. The federal police will deploy an additional 35 men who will do only alcohol tests. Local police districts will implement their own policies.
The SLPF has come out strongly against the new dispensation. “35 officers for all Belgium’s highways? That’s laughable,” said SLPF’s Patrick Roijens. “Three or four officers are required per alcohol test. Do the Math. That’s a drop in the ocean. To effectively monitor the entire country, hundreds of men are needed.”
The police districts each have different priorities at New Year’s Eve, Roijens added. “Most of the districts will not assign anyone specific for the checks,” he noted. “There will be fireworks at midnight and then there could be incidents with people who are drunk or out of control.”
The union says that if the Government wants to curb fatal accidents, it must invest the resources needed and increase people’s risk of being caught. “The staff shortage has to be dealt with now so that we are able to monitor things effectively next year.”