The Brussels police are not ready for unexpected trouble taking place in the capital during the coming World Cup campaign, according to the standing committee that oversees the police, known as the P Committee. In a report just released, the P Committee criticises the training police undergo for dealing with situations where fans run riot, as happened in Brussels last November, following a match between Morocco and Ivory Coast. Rampaging fans destroyed public and private property, and the police had trouble defusing the situation, the Committee says.
“We cannot avoid the conclusion that restoring order and bringing down an escalation of tension to acceptable and manageable levels is the work for police officers who have been properly trained in this specific area,” the report says.
According to a spokesperson for the Brussels-City-Ixelles zone, however, the November match was the catalyst for the police in the zone to improve their training. “Immediately after the riots, we began special training for people to be able to react to unexpected disturbances,” said Ilse Van de Keere. “In that respect the remarks of the P Committee are a bit behind the times.”
Above all, she said, the World Cup is not an unforeseen circumstance. “We have been meeting regularly to examine what are the risk matches. The Brussels police is certainly ready for the World Cup. We’ve also taken into account that a large part of the central avenues is undergoing works, and there are paving stones ripe, so to speak, for the picking.”