The Antwerp police force has opened an internal investigation regarding a conversation group on the messaging application Whatsapp. This group brought together around 25 members of the Antwerp police responsible for prisoner surveillance and transport.
The Mediahuis publications are reporting today (Monday) that racist and sexist comments were exchanged.
The messaging group was used in 2015 and 2016. Discussions revolved around practicalities but some police were also boasting of committing acts of violence. Some discussions contained both racist and sexist comments. Moreover, photos of prisoners were shared and commented upon. Lastly, colleagues were also mocked.
The discussion group was closed in April 2016, after its existence was revealed. The group was confronted about its behaviour during a police unit meeting.
This happened in the presence of two police superintendents responsible for the team in question. Some months later, an internal investigation was opened following complaints from several colleagues.
Some prisoners also complained about the team, on account of being subject to acts of violence.