Socialists demand more police on the streets
10 February 2004
BRUSSELS – The leader of Belgium’s French-speaking socialist party has called on the government to increase the number police officers on Belgium’s streets.
Elio Di Rupo, whose party is a member of Belgium’s coalition government, demanded that interior minister Patrick Dewael, a Flemish Liberal Democrat, tackle the question of police numbers as a matter of urgency.
The socialist leader said the government had yet to deliver on a promise to create 2,500 more local police units in Belgium and to hire civilian staff to handle more police paperwork.
“The aim of reforming the police was to favour the presence of officers on the ground in local communities,” Di Rupo’s party said in an official statement released on Monday.
“But when it comes to the question of police on the streets the policy has been a glaring failure,” the statement added.
Di Rupo also criticised Dewael for paying more attention to the issue voting rights for non-EU foreigners than to policing.
Di Rupo’s comments follow a damning criticism of Belgium’s police forces made over the weekend by one of the country’s leading public prosecutors.
Speaking during a television debate, investigating magistrate Damien Vandermeersche said that police service was in a worse sate today than when convicted child rapist Marc Dutroux was arrested back in 1996.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news