The federal police artificially inflated the scores of candidates for the post of chief commissioner, in order to provide enough candidates for vacancies, VTM News has revealed.
The post is the third of four grades in the officer class of the police, and does not correspond exactly to a British or American rank – perhaps somewhere around the rank of chief inspector or superintendent in the UK.
The job is obtained by a serving police officer by passing an exam with the required margin. But according to the investigation, had the figures not been manipulated, most of the candidates would have been successful.
Exams are organised every two years, and are open to commissioners with seven years service. The process consists of an exam on law and procedure, a personality test and finally an appearance before a selection panel.
The knowledge test has a passing score of 60%, which was only achieved by 30% of candidates in the last test. In Flanders alone, 54 new officers of this rank will be required in the coming two years to make up for natural departures.
To make up the deficiency, the examiners decided to apply a coefficient across the board of 1.35. As a result, the number of successful candidates went from fewer than 30 to 96.
The police authorities deny that meddling with test results is a sign of a problem.
“I don’t think the level is too low,” a spokesperson said. ‘It’s about commissioners who have already had many years of service and who still receive training before they become effective chief commissioners.”
“Some candidates really don’t deserve to pass,” one zone chief told VTM.
“People have passed with whom you can’t even have a proper conversation. Due to the relaxation, they end up in the highest ranks, while they are not suitable for that. I’m genuinely concerned about the future of our police.”
Federal home affairs minister Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) has ordered an enquiry into selection procedures.