Belgium’s largest police union has issued a “wake-up call” to the government over the number of candidates applying for a job within the force, which is dropping year by year, putting further pressure on units already short of personnel.
Last year, 8,198 people applied for a position within the police, out of which only 1,157 graduated and effectively joined a police unit.
By comparison, police received nearly 12,000 applications in 2014.
“[The government] shouldn’t forget that we already have a shortage of 3,000 employees,” Patrick Roijens, a representative for the VSOA Politie trade union told Bruzz.
Roijens said the falling number of new-recruits mean the profession has become “less attractive,” and called out government policies for eroding work conditions in the profession.
“Past governments have saved so much, eroded the statute and frozen wages for 18 years,” he said, blaming their policies for hindering the performance of police units.
The spokesperson also said that increasing animosity and violence towards police, compounded by perceived “lax” responses by some authorities were not only damaging to the image of the profession but also had an impact the morale of current officers.