“We train our officers with the upmost care and we have to place maximum trust in them”, Home Affairs minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) said on Friday. His statement comes after an audit at the Leuven police department revealed officers were severely worried about being sanctioned. “But if there are problems, as there can be within any sector, the bad apples have to be taken out the basket. It says nothing about the basket itself”.
Some officers are so worried about being sanctioned they are almost afraid to do their job, according to an audit by Leuven police. Het Laatste Nieuws reported on the story. “Elsewhere in the country, officers are doing their jobs with this constant fear of sanctions hanging over their heads too. They are over-supervised”, says Nicholas Paelinck, chief of the Westkust (La Panne / Coxyde / Nieuport) department and President of the Local Police Commission.
Mr Jambon’s cabinet says officers receive lengthy and thorough training. “There is a lot of focus on ethics. However, Belgium has 186 police departments as well as the Federal police, so there is always the possibility you’ll get a few bad apples”.
Nicholas Paelinck wants a single police control body. Complaints are currently handled by the General Inspection department, the P Committee and internally. Jan Jambon thinks there is little point in fusing the two bodies together. “The P Committee works with Parliament and the General Inspection department works with Executive bodies”, he said.