Two years after damning audit, little has changed among airport police

Two years after damning audit, little has changed among airport police
© Belga

Two years after a severe audit of the police at Brussels Airport condemned widespread malpractice, little has changed, according to a report by VTM Nieuws, based on a leaked report by an inspection team.

In 2017 a report revealed that police officers who were detailed to accompany deported migrants to their homeland repeatedly arranged their return flights to come via holiday destinations, where they would book themselves into luxury hotels at the expense of the police service, and even use the services of prostitutes at public expense.

The 82 action points drawn up by the audit have barely had an effect, the latest report on the situation reveals. A steering group formed to battle the corrupt culture within the corps has had little effect, having cancelled its planned follow-up meetings because, the report says, “a number of members found the work had little value”.

Het Laatste Nieuws quoted from the report: “A closed culture, with subcultures and Us & Them atmosphere, with the preservation of old methods and impediments to improvement or renewal. Mutual divisions, a feeling of being structurally let down and a culture of complaint among both managers and employees must be turned into a positive spirit with an inspiring and motivating tone coming from the top."

The current commissioner-general of the federal police, Marc Demesmaeker, is singled out for criticism of his “lack of commitment”.

The federal police responded to the VTM report, claiming that more than half of the 82 actions proposed in the 2017 audit have been realised.

We are continually monitoring the recommendations and the current situation, both internally and in cooperation with the General Inspection Service,” police spokesperson Sarah Frederickx told Belga. “The monitoring is systematic, at regular time points and in various ways. Of the many recommendations made, we have realised more than half, and others are still ongoing. Some measures take more time than others to implement. And we are of course taking account of the continuity of service, and ensuring our repatriation missions are carried out correctly and in a humane manner. We are aware of no new incidents, and none have been reported by the inspection service.”

Despite those claims, however, the latest report from the inspection service shows that 23% of the 2017 recommendations have not even begun to be implemented, while another 36% have now been ended. Only 34% have been implemented at all, and another 14% are in preparation.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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