Ronse police chief says “enough is enough”

The Chief Commissioner of the Ronse Local Police Service in East Flanders Patrick Boel has said that he is sick and tired of having to give up officers for Federal Police operations. Mr Boel added that in future he would no longer do so. A number of other local police services are also threatening to stop lending their officers to the Federal Police.

"The Federal Police Service is structurally under-staffed and we can and will no longer help fill the gap”.

As a result of the terrorist threat and the refugees the Federal Police Service is short of officers. Consequently, every Monday the Local Police in Ronse dispatches 4 of its 58 officers to the Federal Police. Up until now this comes to a total of 1,174 man hours or the equivalent of 150 working day. Initially, the police officers from Ronse were deployed guarding the Belgian-French border.

This mission came to an end at the end of last week. However, the Federal Police now wants extra help for anti-terrorist missions.

The Chief Commissioner of the Ronse Local Police Service Patrick Boel told VRT News that "The situation has become untenable. Having to give up officers every day cannot be sustained in a small force like ours.”

It’s the same story elsewhere. The Erpe-Mere/Lede Local Police Service sent a registered letter to the Interior Minister Jan Jambon (nationalist) threatening to longer dispatch its officers to the Federal Police.

Mr Jambon (photo) says that while he understands that the situation is difficult for some local police services, he calls on them to show understand for the extraordinary situation we now find ourselves in. The Interior Minister adds that it takes time to recruit and train extra police officers, but "We will do all we can to keep the situation tenable”.