These pages are only a short presentation of the Belgian Police and more particularly about the training.
This is not a complete translation of our site.
Detailed information and all the possibilities of the website are only available in French and Dutch.
The Belgian police agencies underwent an in depth structural reformation which resulted in the creation of a completely new police. In 2001, the three principal police forces in Belgium, namely the municipal police, the state police (Gendarmerie) and the judicial police (assigned to the offices of the public prosecutors), gave way to an integrated police service structured on two levels (a federal level and a local level).
1. Federal police
The Federal Police Service was established on 1 January 2001 and has personnel strength of some 12,150 officers. The Federal Police works, in co-operation with the local police services, towards making the country more secure and to guarantee democracy. Integrity, impartiality and a sense of responsibility are the pillars of the Federal Police.
A General Commissioner heads the organization; his role is to co-ordinate the work of five general directorates. Moreover, the General Commissioner has a number of departments that report directly to him, these are responsible for communication with the Local Police, international co-operation, integrated police operations and the co-ordination of external communication.
The Federal Police is basically charged with the execution of particular missions (including those overlapping more than one locality) of administrative and judicial police, as well as providing specialized support to the Local Police and the Federal Police itself.
The five general departments and their mission are:
1.1 The general directorate for Administrative Police
This directorate is in charge of all missions related to administrative police. It is responsible for the police ensuring the general traffic circulation like the Traffic Police which is policing of the motorways, the Maritime Police on the North Sea and the waterways, the Railway Police on the railway network and stations and the Aeronautical Police in the national airport and in five regional airports which is also responsible for immigration and border control.
Some officers of this general directorate also carry out protection duties, such as the protection of the Royal Palaces or escorting cash transports. This general directorate also co-ordinates Belgian participation in international humanitarian police missions.
Furthermore, it provides support to the administrative authorities and the departments of the Local Police by, for instance, putting special staff and equipment (water cannons, Mounted Police etc.) at their disposal for crowd or riot control.
Finally, the general department of Administrative Police has a co-ordination and support service (SCA) in each district. Those SCAs support and co-ordinate the Administrative Police actions, which may involve several police zones. They are lead by an administrative director-co-ordinator.
1.2 The general directorate of the Judicial Police
This service co-ordinates the police responses to specific criminal phenomena from a central level. The types of criminality dealt with as a matter of priority are all crimes against persons (for example trafficking of human beings, drugs, etc.); criminality against goods (e.g. theft) organized crime and economic and financial criminality (e.g. corruption)
In the field of economic and financial criminality, this general directorate conducts its own enquiries.
The general directorate of the Judicial Police also oversees a number of special support operations, such as the national management of informers, phone tapping and the scientific and technical police (forensics).
1.3 The general directorate for operational support
Its role is to put special, efficient and practical means at the disposal of the Local and Federal Police.
Those special police means are: the Special Intervention Units (SWAT), the Canine Division, the Air Support Division, the management of operational documentation or the documentation needed by the police services in the field in order to complete their missions, data processing, telephone and radio-communication and the international and operational police co-operation.
1.4 The general directorate of logistics
It is in charge of the management of the equipment of the Federal Police i.e. buildings, vehicles, armaments and furniture, but also of the management of the financial means.
This general directorate also provides free or paid for, logistical support to requesting local police services.
1.5 The general directorate of Human Resources
This directorate deals with personnel questions and makes sure that every department within the federal police has appropriate staff at its disposal.
The H&R general direction is in charge of recruiting and training. It is also in charge of the relations with the unions and the management of health and safety issues on the work floor.
The logo of the Federal Police is a white symbol in a blue circle. The white symbol represents a hand or a flame. The curve of the flame or of the hand represents the good relations the police wishes to have with the population, as well as the good co-operation between the different police departments. The blue colour symbolizes the mutual confidence between the police and the population.
An Ochre line under the word "Police" symbolizes the Federal Police. For the Local Police, light blue is used.
The new logo was also the starting point for the creation of the new striping to be found on nearly all police related materiel, like the cars, stationary...
Another innovation is the ASTRID system that is a digital radio network. The intention is, that in due course the police and all the emergency and security services (fire brigades, customs, etc.) will use this radio system. This will lead to better mutual communication between the different police departments, but will also improve the co-operation between the police and some other public services.
Thanks to a computerized dispatching, the provincial communication and information centres can, among other things, more easily receive and record the calls made to the emergency services. The operators have an overview of the actions of the local intervention teams and know where they are located on the field. Through ASTRID, the centre has access to the police information of the national database, which enables the teams on the field to follow the events more easily.
For a police officer, the ASTRID system has several advantages. He or she has a modern radio with which he or she is in contact with the other teams and the dispatching, thanks to a group conversation system. Thanks to the telephone function, information can also be received and sent by cell phone. All the radio transmissions are coded and therefore secure. Other new possibilities are the sending of messages comparable to SMS and the presence of an emergency call system. This is a great advance to better and secure communications!
2. Local Police
The local police is composed of 196 local police forces arisen due of the confluence of the formal municipal police and the former territorial brigades from the state police (gendarmerie).
50 police services coincide with the territory of one city or town (one-city-zone) and 146 coincide with more than one city and / or town. (more-city-zones)
Each local police corps is under the leadership of a chief of police, responsible for the execution of the local police policy. He guarantees the management, the organization and the distribution of the tasks in the local police corps. He exercises these activities under the authority of the mayor (burgomaster), for the one-city-zones or under the authority of the police board (college) for the more-city-zones.
This police board is composed of all the mayors from the different cities or towns from the police zone.
Also a Permanent Commission for the Local Police is created to represent all local police services on a national level. On initiative or on demand of authorities, it will provide advice on all problems relative to the local police.
Each police corps consists of, an operational cadre of police officers and auxiliary police officers, and an administrative and logistic cadre, composed by civilian personnel. At the moment, 28.550 local police officers and 862 members of the administrative- and logistic cadre are working together in the 196 different local police services.
The numerical personnel strength of the police zones is defined by the police board of more-city-zones or by the town council for one-city-zones, corresponding the minimal standards, as provided by law. (Royal Decree 05.09.2001)
The police-board is represented by town-councillors from the different cities or townships in the police-zone, based on the number of their inhabitants; each city council has at the least one legal representative.
2.3 The philosophy of the local police
This philosophy is based on the global and integrated approach of the security problem. It is based on a maximal visibility of the police and forwarded police activities on a limited territory, which allows improving the contact between civilians and policemen. In this case we are speaking about community policing or community orientated policing.
The fundamental characteristic of the new police service is based upon the creation of police officers having the same status, whether belonging to the federal police or the local police.
This principle of equivalence is present at all levels: administrative, financial, trade union, disciplinary, rank, legal protection etc. and, consequently, also in the field of training. Concretely, whether working at the federal or local level, the police officers receive identical training.