Brussels police officers are in uproar this week since, as of next week, they will no longer be authorised to carry a weapon when on traffic duty. “We cannot accept this,” declared the SNPS union to Mediahuis press on Friday.
Since the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Paris and the foiled attacks against police stations, the threat level for the police service has remained at level 3. Police officers, who do not carry weapons, are not authorised to walk the streets alone, unless they are accompanied by an armed inspector.
On September 1st, this is set to change. The city of Brussels is expecting traffic to be heavy when the new school year kicks off. “Because of the sheer amount of traffic expected, we want traffic officers to work in pairs and with no weapons,” said the police force directorate in an internal statement.
The SNPS is against this measure. “We cannot let our men walk the streets unarmed,” said Nicolas Beckers of the SNPS. The police force directorate has countered that officers will be in pairs, not on their own.” The intersections will be manned by teams comprising either 2 officers or 1 inspectors plus one officer,” said spokesman Christian De Coninck.