Belgian judges complain on shortage of police investigators
Monday, 15 July 2019
Due to the shortage of investigators, police often decide on what priorities to pursue.
Investigating judges alert that they are losing control, De Standaard reports on Monday.
“When investigating judges ask the police to explore certain elements in a file, the answer is often that investigators cannot do it. This is due to a significant lack of staff,” Philippe Van Linthout, Co-President of the Association of Investigating Judges deplores.
The organization brings together some 120 of this category of judges in Belgium, who treat the most serious criminal cases.
The lack of available investigators is felt whenever a case is more complex than compared to a minor offence, says Linthout.
“This has a detrimental effect: the police examine the request, see how many officers are available and define what is the priority in the investigation. Not by hunger for power but because of practical circumstances. It is unhealthy because control is lost.”
The section of Belgium federal judicial police more specialized research department has faced a shortage of staff since the beginning of the decade. There is hardly anyone to investigate fraud or corruption.
Anti-terrorism sections also lack personnel, while there is also a capacity deficit for local investigations. Not only does this have negative consequences in fighting crime, “it also impacts the balance between police and judiciary branches,” Van Linthout emphasizes.