Brussels police and French CRS exchange innovation during EU-CELAC summit
Thursday, 11 June 2015
Brussels-Ixelles police zone played host to a delegation of 50 French CRS during Wednesday and Thursday’s EU-CELAC summit (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) in Brussels. The French delegation took advantage of their trip to the European capital to present their equipment, including a mobile camera system and a system of screens they have deployed on their vans. The officers of the Brussels-Ixelles police zone were responsible for security over the course of they 2 days during which 61 heads of state and government arrived in Brussels. The police officers shared their experience in managing summits with the French police.
Some 57 members of the French National Police made the trip to Brussels along with vans equipped with protective screens that can be deployed at demonstrations. Brussels police are interested in this screen system as a way to replace some or all of its ‘chevaux de frise’. The device presented by the CRS enables the police to quickly block an opening during a demonstration, a real asset according Pierre Vandersmissen, director of operations for the Brussels-Ixelles police zone.
The French National Police’s visit to Brussels was also an opportunity for them to test their mobile camera system in the European capital. The French police had already used the system during the Ducasse de Mons festival and the inaugural ceremony of Mons 2015 – European Capital of Culture. “We have been using this system regularly over the past three years. We have already deployed it during a G8 and G20 summit, on special occasions, such as the Lille Braderie, and also for large demonstrations. It’s been used about 40 times in all”, said Didier Becart, head of technical and operational support within the French National Police.
The “no screws, no nails” mobile camera system takes only a few hours to set up. It broadcasts real-time images to the command post. “We are conscious of the need to protect people’s privacy so it is possible to hide certain parts of the images”, added Major Didier Becart. The organisers of events where mobile cameras are deployed are encouraged to inform the press of the presence of the cameras.
The director of operations for the Brussels-Ixelles police zone also pointed out the high quality images provided by the mobile cameras. Although such surveillance cameras are primarily used to manage possible violence from troublemakers, they also make it possible to film the police during their interventions. “These images enable the police to protect and defend themselves from a legal point of view if ever required”, pointed out Mr. Becart. In Brussels, the police have agreed to the presence of cameras. “Having cameras in police stations has played more in our favour than against us. And the number of complaints made against the police has gone down”, added Mr. Vandersmissen.