Belgium’s police forces are discouraged from taking action for fear of possible complaints and associated sanctions, according to an audit of the police in Leuven revealed to Het Laatste Nieuws. The phenomenon is common throughout the country, said Leuven police chief Nicholas Paelinck. “They come in for too much scrutiny,” he said.
“The manner in which Internal Investigations looks into complaints has an intimidating and threatening effect,” says the report, which was carried out by an external consultancy. “This leads to a culture of fear.”
For Paelinck, the problem is not limited to Leuven. “In other zones the same thing is going on, because the police everywhere are being investigated by all sorts of organisations as well as by the citizen, who is ready to make a complaint for the slightest thing,” he said. And he called for one over-arching authority, to take the place of the investigating magistrate, the General Inspection service, internal affairs investigators and the P Committee, which oversees all matters relating to the police.