More than 1,600 new police officers recruited last year to tackle shortages

More than 1,600 new police officers recruited last year to tackle shortages
Police officers pictured at the scene of a stabbing incident at the Rue d'Aerschot on Thursday 10 November 2022. Credit: Belga/ Hatim Kaghat

A total of 1,654 new police officers were recruited in 2022, in line with a promise made by Home Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden when she took office.

For the second year in a row, 1,600 new police inspectors were taken on by police forces in Belgium, as part of a concrete hiring target to tackle chronic staff shortages in the sector. Last year, the situation had reportedly become so dire that serious criminal cases are being shelved due to a lack of officers and investigators.

"This Federal Government is once again making security a top priority. And that starts with sufficient personnel," said Verlinden on Tuesday. The target set in 2020 was also met in 2021.

The police selection process has been optimised to find at least 1,600 new inspectors in the coming years as well. The selection process has been shortened through further digitalisation, which means the right profiles need to be recruited faster and more efficiently. A shorter processing time ensures that more candidates stay on board during the selection procedure, can start their training sooner and are thus operationally deployable sooner.

"With the recruitment of more than 1,600 inspectors, we were also vigorously investing in the safety of citizens in 2022. And we will continue to do so for the rest of the legislature."

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About a quarter of the new recruits from last year now work for the federal police, which will also have 1,000 additional employees by the end of this legislature, which will result in the federal police having "the highest number of employees ever," according to Verlinden.

In addition to inspectors, 192 security officers, 76 regular officers, 182 specialised chief inspectors, 179 commissioners and 864 administrative staff were also recruited last year.


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