Four out of five young people in Brussels don’t feel safe with police
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Four out of five young people in Brussels don’t feel safe with police

Credit: Belga

Four out of five people don’t feel safe when coming into contact with the police, according to the preliminary results of an ongoing study by the VGC Youth Council.

There have already been 1,631 respondents to the survey, which is conducted both online and through in person interviews on the street, according to Bruzz, and 78% of them expressed feeling unsafe.

“These figures are very worrying. It also shows that in the future there is a need to improve the relationship between the police and youth,” VGC Youth Council Chairman Ilyas Mouani told Bruzz. “There is no magical solution for this, but every initiative is a step towards a better city.”

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49% of the young people interviewed said that they link the police to some form of anger.

43% of those surveyed used the word “fear,” while 40% used the term “powerless.” 26% said they associate police with “indifference” and just 15% said they associate them with “security.” 11% of respondents chose the word “respect.”

Almost every respondent – 94% of them – said they believe there is an urgent need to improve relations between police and the communities they serve.

When it comes to police contact with young people, the study found that 57% of its respondents experienced an identity check last year. 37% of those were searched, and another 26% were taken to the police station for questioning.

Most of those young people (73%) felt that racial profiling played a part in the police’s decision to perform an identity check.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times