Interior Minister Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance, N-VA) is redefining the tasks assigned to the railway police. This specialized service within the federal police should work only in the trains, platforms and tracks, he feels, while railway stations are the purview of the local police.
This new distribution of tasks will be accompanied by a reorganization. Dispatching in
Brussels, Anvers, Ghent, Liège and Charleroi will be maintained, while Hasselt, Louvain and Bruges, for example, will become satellite offices.
Federal parliamentarian Franky Demon of the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party, CD&V, fears that dismantling some outposts will lead to an increase in crime in and around railway stations. “The various railway police outposts have already proved their effectiveness, especially in very busy stations, where there are many commuters and tourists,” he stressed.
Minister Jambon does not fully agree with this anaylsis. “The opposite is also true,” says his spokesman, Olivier Van Raemdonck. “Our aim is to improve the service even more. It’s not about cutting costs. We want to place these specialized officers on the trains, platforms and tracks, rather than in the offices, just as the highway police are on the roads.”
Train stations are not the purview of the railway police. “A theft in a station is equivalent to a robbery in a shopping mall. Front-line policing is not the job of a specialised service like the railway police,” adds Van Raemdonck.
To improve security in and around stations, local and federal police are concluding new protocols and updating those that already exist, he said.
The Brussels Times