Police in Belgium have 'insufficient insight into racism and illegal violence'

Police in Belgium have 'insufficient insight into racism and illegal violence'
Credit: Belga

The police in Belgium don’t have sufficient insight into illegal police violence, discrimination, and racism within its ranks, as there are no clear, centralised figures on these incidents, an investigation by the General Inspectorate published on Tuesday found.

Following a thorough investigation, the General Inspectorate, which supervises the local and federal police services, found there is no overall picture of these incidents in the country as they are not being systematically registered.

“The problem is that the mandatory reports are not always made by all services of the Federal Police or by the local police forces, which means that the internal Directorate for Prevention and Protection at Work of the Federal Police, which collects the information, does not have a correct overall picture,” the report stated.

This investigation comes in the wake of reports of police using racist language and emphasised that there is a lack of screening of police officers, which could help reveal extremism, during their career, or even during their training.

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It pointed to the conclusion reached by a master's thesis in 2015, which stated that there is an obligation to report any use of violence,  but that local police districts usually have their own, internal registration system, which is difficult to map out for the whole of Belgium

It also showed that an internal report of the federal police on the number of people who died after using a firearm is not completely reliable, as not all cases are reported to the internal prevention service of the Federal Police.

These forms for firearms incidents also don’t always report the consequences for third parties, as some police officers are more focused on reporting those injured in their own ranks.

The report highlighted that an official investigation into police violence in Belgium has never been done, adding that the Belgian police force “does not have any funds at its disposal that would allow it to carry out scientific research, and it has not carried out scientific research itself.”

The section on the police and illegal violence, discrimination, and racism in the report concluded that “there is a need for a clear and uniform reporting system for illegal police violence so that the problem can be objectified.”

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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