Overworked Molenbeek police send a clear warning

Police officers belonging to the Brussels-West police district, which includes Molenbeek, have massively up taken sick leave. Both the night teams and the day shift didn't turn up. "Our batteries are empty", says Kris Verstraeten of the liberal trades union who works himself as a policeman in Molenbeek.

Police can no longer deal with the heavy work pressure, a problem that has been there for quite some time. Now, employees have given a clear signal. Both the night shift and their colleagues for the day didn't go on patrol, calling in sick. They were replaced at the last minute by police officers from local districts.

"The problem has been going on for months: we are short of staff, and face a lack of means. The people are at their wit's end. (...) The patrol teams are 40 people short. The batteries are empty", explains Verstraeten. He adds that the strike was not initiated by the unions. "This shows how deep the problem has grown."