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Law enforcement in Belgium

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Law enforcement in Belgium

Law enforcement in Belgium is conducted by an integrated police service structured on the federal and local levels, made up of the Federal Police and the Local Police. Both forces are autonomous and subordinate to different authorities, but linked in regard to reciprocal support, recruitment, manpower mobility and common training.[1]

In 2001, the Belgian police underwent a fundamental structural reform that created this completely new police system. A Belgian parliamentary report into a series of pedophile murders accused the police of negligence, amateurism and incompetence in investigating the cases. The loss of public confidence in the police was so great that the whole population deemed the reform indispensable.[2]

The three former police forces, the municipal police, the national law enforcement service (Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie) and the judicial police (assigned to the offices of the public prosecutors) gave way to an integrated police service structured on two levels.[3]

Federal Police

The federal police (}

}}: Federale Politie; }

}}: Police Fédérale; }

}}: Föderale Polizei) is in charge of both specialized and supralocal law enforcement operations and specialized criminal investigation operations. The force is also tasked with delivering support to the local police forces. The federal police consists of approximately 12,300 personnel members (civilian and operational staff).


The federal police is led by a general commissioner, a senior officer who holds the rank of chief superintendent. He or she heads the general commissioner's office. This office is responsible for management, strategy and policy of the federal police; ensuring the functioning of the integrated police (by coordinating with local police forces); coordinating and supporting the federal police units; internal and external communication and international cooperation. It is composed of the:

  • directorate of police strategy
  • directorate of international police cooperation
  • directorate of communication
  • directorate of well-being
  • 13 decentralized coordination and support directorates (CSD) (spread over the 12 judicial districts)
    • intervention corps (CIK) (spread over the 13 CSD's)

The directorate of international police cooperation (CGI) within this office is Belgium’s national central bureau for the European Police Office (Interpol).


Falling under the authority of the General Commissioner's Office, are two operational and one non-operational general directorates:

  • the general directorate of administrative police (DGA) (}

    }}: algemene directie van de bestuurlijke politie; }

    }}: direction générale de la police administrative) has two functions: (1) it performs specialized, often supralocal, law enforcement operations and (2) it delivers all kinds of support to the other federal units and the local police forces. The general directorate consists of the following units:

      • directorate of operations of administrative police (DAO)
      • directorate of traffic police (DAH)
      • directorate of railway police (SPC)
      • directorate of maritime and river Police (SPN)
      • directorate of airport police (LPA)
      • directorate of dog support (DACH)
      • directorate of air support (DAFA)
      • directorate of public security (DAS) with a.o. the Mounted Police, the water cannon vehicles, etc.
      • directorate of protection (DAP) with a.o. detachments in charge of specialised protection of persons and property, protection of the royal family members and the royal palaces or police missions at SHAPE
      • a secretariat.
    • the general directorate of judicial police (DGJ) (}

      }}: algemene directie van de gerechtelijke politie; }

      }}: direction générale de la police judiciaire) investigates heavy, organised and interregional crimes (local crimes are investigated by the local police), and conduct proactive and reactive investigation. These investigations involve missing persons. The general directorate is composed of these directorates:

        • central directorate of operations of judicial police (DJO)
        • central directorate of technical and scientific police (DJT)
        • directorate of special units (DSU)
        • central directorate for combating serious and organised crime (DJSOC)
        • 14 decentralized judicial directorates (FGP) (spread over the 12 judicial districts, acting as the judicial counterpart of the CSD's)
      • the general directorate of resource management and information (DGR) (}

        }}: algemene directie van het middelenbeheer en de informatie; }

        }}: direction générale de la police judiciaire) delivers human resources, financial and general management to the police organization: recruitment, training, staff management, medical, legal affairs, internal affairs, equipment (standards for both Federal and Local Police are the same), logistics, infrastructure, finance... It concists of these directorates:

          • directorate of personnel (DRP)
          • directorate of logistics (DRL)
          • directorate of ICT and information (DRI)
          • directorate of finances (DRF)

        Local Police

        A police car from Antwerp

        The local police (}

        }}: Lokale Politie; }

        }}: Police Locale; }

        }}: Lokale Polizei) is made up of 196 police forces constituted from the former communal and gendarmerie brigades. 50 police forces cover the territory of one municipality (one-city zone) and 146 cover more than one municipality (multi-city zone).[4] The local police can be compared to municipal police forces.

        Each local police chief is responsible for the execution of local law enforcement policy and ensures the management, organization and distribution of missions in the local police force. She or he works under the authority of the mayor in one-city zones, or under a police board composed of all the mayors from the different municipalities in a multi-city police zone.

        Its philosophy envisions a global and integrated approach to security based on maximum visibility focusing police activities on a limited area, which should optimize contact between the police and the population. It aims to restore public confidence in the police force and of improve the objective and subjective feeling of security in communities.

        Structure

        Each police force consists of an operational cadre of police and auxiliary police plus civilian personnel for administrative and logistic work. At the moment, approx. 33,000 local police and 900 civilians work in the 196 regional police forces.

        The numerical strength of the police is determined by the police board for multi-city zones or by the town council for one-city zones, which must match the minimal standards set by law. Also a Permanent Commission for the Local Police represents all local police services at national level and provides advice on all problems relating to the local police.

        Missions

        To guarantee a minimum service to the population, Belgian law provides six basic functions for the local police: Community policing, responsiveness, intervention, victim support, local criminal investigation and maintaining public order.

        • Community policing consists of developing neighborhood relations and maintaining police visibility. This mission is not merely one of maintaining a physical presence but also of local dialogue, exchange of ideas and personal relationships. The norms call for at least 1 community officer per 4,000 inhabitants.
        • Responsiveness means giving answers to citizens who appear in person, call by phone or write to the police. Sometimes they are directed to an internal service or a more suitable external service. Each police zone maintains a permanent point of contact. In the multi-city-zones, each city or municipality has its own police-post which, if not accessible 24 hours a day, gives citizens the opportunity to get in touch with the police.
        • The intervention function consists of responding to all calls, where police intervention is needed, within an appropriate time. This response can be, depending on the case and the context (seriousness, necessity, circumstances), immediate or delayed; in this last case, the inquirer must be informed about the cause of the delay and the duration.
        • The victims unit gives assistance to victims of crime. Each police officer is expected to give victim support. In serious cases, the police force may use a police officer specially trained to handle victims.
        • The local criminal investigation unit supports local police in the investigation of local crime. In each local police force, about 7 to 10 percent of the force’s personnel work for the investigations division.
        • Maintaining public order means protecting or, when necessary, restoring public order, security and public health. This not only means maintaining public order at large events such as demonstrations, football matches or local festivities but also environmental problems and traffic.

        Police Ranks

        The Federal Police doesn't have a hierarchical relationship with the Local Police. Instead, there is a functional connection between the two entities. Both the Federal and the Local Police are built up hierarchically, with the same ranks.

        The rank insignia are rectangular plates that are worn on the left pocket flap of the uniform shirt, fleece, sweater, jacket, coat and/or bulletproof vest. On the right side pocket flap, a similar plate is worn, displaying the officer's name and a separating line with underneath the name of the force and/or unit the officer belongs to. In some cases (mostly commissioned officers) the function is displayed (e.g. "Commissioner-General). This plate also has orange/red (Federal Police), light blue (Local Police) or silver (General Inspection) lines, but mirrored, so that the lines are on the left side.

        The color of the insignia and the officer's name, function/unit/force and the separating line depends on the cadre that the officer belongs to. Silver is used for all auxiliary, base and middle ranks (up to Chief Inspector), gold is used for all officer ranks.

        Cadre Rank Rank insignia Federal Police Rank insignia Local Police
        Officer level

        (commissioned officers)

        Chief Commissioner - Hoofdcommissaris - Commissaire Divisionnaire CDP polfed CDP polloc
        Commissioner - Commissaris - Commissaire CP polfed CP polloc
        Candidate Police Commissioner - Aspirant-Commissaris - Aspirant-Commissaire ACP polfed ACP polloc
        Middle-level

        (non-commissioned officers)

        Chief Inspector - Hoofdinspecteur - Inspecteur Principal

        equal to sergeant

        INPP polfed INPP polloc
        Candidate Chief Inspector - Aspirant-Hoofdinspecteur - Aspirant-Inspecteur Principal AINPP polfed AINPP polloc
        Base-level

        (troops)

        Inspector - Inspecteur - Inspecteur

        base rank; full powers; equal to constable or officer

        INP polfed INP polloc
        Candidate Inspector - Aspirant-Inspecteur - Aspirant-Inspecteur AINP polfed AINP polloc
        Auxiliary level (Auxiliary) Officer - Agent - Agent

        only limited powers; not to be confused with constable or officer; formerly known as "auxiliary officer"

        AP polfed AP polfed
        Candidate (Auxiliary) Officer - Aspirant-Agent - Aspirant-Agent AAP polfed AAP polloc

        Rank markings on helmets

        When performing public order maintenance operations (e.g. demonstrations and riots), police personnel wears a helmet in situations with increased risk of violence. The helmets are white because that color is easier to spot by cameras and police helicopters. The helmet is plain white for Inspectors and more junior ranks). Chief-Inspectors (who are section chiefs) wear helmets with one blue stripe running from back to front. Commissioners (who are platoon chiefs) have two blue stripes.

        Trivia

        Some officers, often belonging to intervention units (patrol units), only wear the rank plate and not the name plate on their uniform whilst on duty. This is to prevent malevolent persons from identifying and subsequently threatening or harassing them as a revenge for being subject of police operations. This is more common in urban areas than in rural (calmer) areas.

        See also

        Historical:

        Crime:

        External links

        Wikimedia Atlas of Belgium

        • Police Training
        • Belgian Police homepage
        • Official site of the Belgian federal government
        • History of Belgium: Primary Documents
        • USC Center on Public Diplomacy Nation Profile

        References


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        local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

        local p = {}


        -- Helper functions


        local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

        local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

        function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

        function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

        function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

        function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


        -- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


        function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

        function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


        -- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


        function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

        function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
        %s
        ', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

        end

        return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


        local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

        local p = {}


        -- Helper functions


        local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

        local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

        function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

        function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

        function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

        function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


        -- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


        function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

        function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


        -- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


        function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

        function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
        %s
        ', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

        end

        return p
        1. ^
        2. ^
        3. ^
        4. ^


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