Families of police recruits concerned by attacks against officers

Families of police recruits concerned by attacks against officers
Credit: Bruno Fahy/Belga.

The families of recruits to Belgium's police force are increasingly concerned for their safety of their children following a wave of attacks against police officers in the country, RTL Info reports. Police recruits are notably concerned about a double knife attack which cost the life of officer Thomas Monjoie in Brussels.

“The family is, of course, worried. We try to reassure them, to make them understand that we are paying attention, that we are putting into practice what we learn here,” said Hervé, a police recruit, during their graduation ceremony in Seraing.

Hervé’s father, mixed with fear and confidence, said that his family was worried about the state of society and attitudes towards the police in the country. He does not want his son to be on the receiving end of aggression.

“It is worrying because I think society is increasing in violence. But we are not like the United States where the sale of weapons is free, and where everyone can kill everyone,” he said.

Determined to carry on

Just one year ago, Hervé and his colleagues entered the police academy. At the ceremony, they received their second star, raising them the rank of inspector. But during the middle of their training year, the police community was shocked by the violent attack against their camarade, Thomas Montjoie, who was killed in Brussels.

Mélanie told RTL Info that she felt the loss as if it were a member of her own family. Nevertheless, she remains determined to soldier on and patrol the streets of Liège.

“It did not make me doubt at all. I have been waiting to be here for 15 years. We know very well what we are getting into. Zero risk does not exist in this profession, we all know that,” she said.

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While the fresh graduates remain largely confident, Pascal André, director of the Liège police school, says that their training prepares police officers for the possibility of physical attacks.

“We all know the danger of routine. We must constantly be ready to assume everything that shouldn’t happen is going to happen. This is done through techniques and learning, especially in overpowering violence,” he said.

Each year in Belgium, 1,600 police officers are trained. Belgium has recently imposed harsher sentences for violence directed towards police officers. After the killing of Monjoie, Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne extended his zero-tolerance policy for violence against police, with sentences of up to ten years imprisonment for basic offences.

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