Belgium unveils first virtual police counter

Belgium unveils first virtual police counter
A 3D-projection of a police officer posted elsewhere will be handling citizen complaints through the virtual bureau. © Belga

The first virtual police bureau in Belgium will open in the province of Limburg, where a 3D-projection of a police officer will be soon filling in for a flesh-and-bone policeman.

The virtual police post will be operational from Monday in Houthalen, a municipality located near the Dutch border, home to some 30,000 inhabitants.

The bureau will be managed by the CARMA police zone, competent for eight localities spread out over a wide territory which it serves mostly out of the head station in Genk.

The police zone will be the first in Belgium to turn to virtual technologies in an attempt to guarantee and extend police services to all municipalities under its competency.

Through the e-police post, residents will be put in contact with a police officer posted elsewhere, whose image will be projected in 3-D, Le Soir reports.

The roll-out of the virtual police bureau entails a significant reduction in the work-load of police zones, needing a team of around ten officers to process complaints filed through it, resulting in a larger contingent to be available for on-site interventions, Het Nieuwsblad reports.

The creation of the bureau will aim to manage citizen reports for petty crimes, complaints or reports of the loss or theft of identity documents or other important belongings.

The counter in Houthalen is set to be the first of at least ten similar bureaus the police zone is aiming to create throughout Limburg, which could also be put to use during large public events.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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