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Boom in applications for police jobs

Published on 20/08/2004

20 August 2004

BRUSSELS – The number of applications to join the police force in Belgium is soaring as the public image of the profession improves, it was reported Friday.

Flanders accounts for the greatest increase, with a 46 percent rise in 2003 in the number of candidates seeking to serve and protect. There was a 44 percent increase in francophone candidates during the same period, up from a 33 percent rise the previous year.

Alain Goergen, head of recruitment for the federal police, said the jump can be explained by the improved public image of crime-fighters. “The image of police in the eyes of the public is very positive, above all because of the reform of the police,” he told Le Soir newspaper.

A recent survey by GFK backs up his claim. It found that police enjoy a 73 percent popularity rating among Belgians, higher than the 67 percent European average.

Goergen said that people are motivated to apply are attracted by a profession that is multi-faceted and fairly active, requiring them to move and which is fairly stable and well-paid. In addition, many also are drawn to social contact with the public.

But getting a job is not easy. In 2003, about 12,000 people vied for just 1,200 open positions.

Only 16 percent of the candidates, or less than one out of six individuals, was able to pass all four examinations: cognitive aptitude, personality, medical and an interview with the selection committee.

About 25 percent to 30 percent of candidates don’t get past the first test, while nearly half (47 percent) flunk the personality exam.  The latter assesses communication skills and ability to work with a team.

Goergen insisted that those who fail should not be discouraged, pointing out that it’s always possible to put in a new application and re-take the exams the following year.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news