Complaints raise alarm over police morality
13 October 2005, BRUSSELS — Five complaints about a police officer are lodged with authorities every day amid concerns the moral standards of police are worsening.
13 October 2005
BRUSSELS — Five complaints about a police officer are lodged with authorities every day amid concerns the moral standards of police are worsening.
The police supervisory committee also said about 1,000 investigations into police officers were launched in the past three years and 3,500 complaints were reported.
The Committee P said that equates to a ratio of one complaint per 12 police officers and the number of criminal investigations amount to one case per 40 officers.
In the first six months of this year, the number of complaints rose to 2,111 and there were 767 criminal inquiries started.
The committee said the figures for July, August and September confirm the worsening trend.
On average, more then three complaints a day are lodged against a police officer on claims he or she abused their position, acted arbitrarily or used unnecessary force.
More than five complaints a day involve concerns that police are not doing their job, newspaper 'Het Nieuwsblad' reported on Thursday.
Interior Minister Patrick Dewael stressed several weeks ago — after the arrest of four officers in the Antwerp police zone of Rupel on theft and drugs charges — that the morality of police must become a priority.
However, the supervisory committee said in its interim report that police corps are barely in state to record complaints over fellow officers, even if they are members of another corps.
Complainants are systematically referred to the police committee.
"The increasing number of complaints and reports indicates a blurring of moral standards," the committee said, adding that disciplinary procedures are inadequate and that crimes are infrequently punished sufficiently.
The committee urged the government to reform the disciplinary laws and investigate every corps which has not imposed a disciplinary sentence in the past four years.
"If the civilian wants more faith in the police corps, he must be convinced that one officer will not cover for the other," the report said.
The committee also said a code of conduct should be introduced, the text of which has already been written up. Minister Dewael has said he wants to introduce the code as quickly as possible.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news