Four out of ten police officers in Brussels speak no Dutch, in a force which is supposed by law to be bilingual, according to figures from the federal home affairs ministry. Individual members of the force are supposed to be bilingual French and Dutch, offering the possibility that both offenders and the victims of crime can be heard in their own language.
According to figures from 1 January, 58% of officers speak both languages adequately – 3,648 from a force of 6,288, or 1% fewer than a year before. French is spoken by 98% of officers.
The figures were produced by the ministry at the request of Vlaams Belang MP Barbara Pas. She told Bruzz,”Bilingualism has reached an absolute deep point under the Michel government, and that is all the more noteworthy given that Jan Jambon of N-VA was minister of home affairs. He had everything he required to do something about the problem. However of the 140 officers who were taken on last year, only 8 were bilingual”. And she called on the ministry to make more of an effort to ensure new recruits are bilingual, and to make language an integral part of the training package.
Jambon himself replied on Twitter: “Ms Pas ought to know that this question is the responsibility of the region and not of the home affairs ministry. I complained several times to minister-president [Rudi] Vervoort, but he fails to acknowledge the problem. It is up to the Flemish parties in the coalition in Brussels who need to make an effort here.”
The Brussels Times