The federal police service with responsibility for ensuring the safety of any individuals under threat, such as politicians, has a shortage of staff. A third of posts are not filled, the police confirmed on Tuesday in De Tijd. That having been said, they did not comment upon the potential practical consequences of this shortage on the ground.
In a given situation, the role of the Management for federal police protection (or DAP) kicks in. This particularly applies when the Crisis Centre considers, after OCAM analysis, that a single individual needs close protection. Last year, the Crisis Centre dealt with 62 files of this nature, each concerning one or several individuals, including politicians, judges or other senior positions.
However, the Management of the protection organisation says that it lacks agents on the ground, as alluded to earlier. Jonathan Pfund, of the federal police, confirms, “33.8% of staff posts are not filled.” The operational team should currently have 189 officers. Following the exception granted by the Minister for the Interior, Jan Jambon, DAP staff can, in any case, exceed the maximum number of usual permitted working hours.
The protection of members of the Royal Family, SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), as well as special transport when required, such as for the National Bank of Belgium, all fall under the remit of the DAP.