The police are understaffed, and need an additional 3,707 officers, mainly in the big cities, Het Nieuwsblad, Het Belang van Limburg and De Standaard reported on Monday. According to the newspapers, the federal police needed 1,610 officers while 2,097 were required by local police. Three-quarters of the police precincts had fewer staff than they were meant to have.
The staff shortage has consequences on the ground, trade unions warn. Precincts “often decide to carry out fewer patrols,” Vincent Houssin of the police section of the public service union, SLPF, disclosed.
The unions are asking Interior Minister Jan Jambon to speed up the recruitment of police officers. However, the minister’s office says the current legislative framework for staff does not allow this.