A call centre intended to deal with questions from motorists who have received a speeding fine has been so overwhelmed by calls that people are now turning up at their local police stations, who say they are unable to help. The call centre is operated by Bpost, and normally receives around 4,000 phone calls a day. In recent weeks, however, numbers have shot up to more than 7,000 calls a day, the justice department said, extending waiting times to 15 to 20 minutes. The call centre, to make matters worse, is only available on weekdays from 08.00 to 17.00.
According to the local police zone concerned, Balen-Dessel-Mol, aggrieved members of the public are now arriving at the police station with their questions and complaints. “Local police can’t help,” the zone posted on Twitter, and provided a link where information can be obtained.
The problem is not a sudden attack of zealotry on the part of police, explained Edward Landtsheere of the justice ministry to Het Belang Van Limburg. “This is a result of a major mailing earlier this month,” he said. “At the beginning of August a large mailing of traffic fines went out. Between 1 and 10 August, around 650,000 fines were sent out.
“To help cope at the call centre at peak moments, 21 extra staff were taken on, and another five will start training this week,” Landtsheere said. “The mailing of traffic fines will be better spread out in the future, so that such peak moments can be avoided.”