Police union shares images of violence against officers during arrest

The liberal police union VSOA has shared images on social media of violence against police officers as they detained a 17-year-old boy in the Brussels municipality of Schaarbeek on Friday evening. Two officers were injured in the incident. The union says the incident “was more than a disturbance” and it wants greater support for the police. “It is time that public opinion is made aware of the situation in some areas of Brussels”, the union says in a statement. 

On Saturday the police and the Judicial Authorities issued a statement in which they said that a suspect had offered resistance and provoked officers that wanted to check his identity. The youth was aggressive and called on passers-by to come to his assistance. Eventually the police were able to detain him. However, this was not before two officers had been injured.

The liberal public service union VSOA has now put video footage of the arrest online. The footage shows the youth running away from the police while a number of passers-by watch.

VSOA Police’s Vincent Houssin told journalists that "Our colleges were surrounded by dozens of other lads. One officer is reported to have been stabbed in his bullet-proof vest. But I will leave it to the Local Police Service to confirm this”.

"Since the riots in Anderlecht a few months ago we have said that that in future we will share video footage. This is more than a disturbance, our people were surrounded”, Mr Houssin added.

In 2017 the country’s Chief Prosecutors issued a circular in which it was promised that zero tolerance would be employed when dealing with incidents of violence against police officers. However, the union claims that many cases are still dismissed and that the circular isn’t worth the paper that it is written on.

“We want action not words. Let us be clear this is not about the ministers (of the interior) Pieter De Crem and Koen Geen (justice), but we want greater support for the police. It is time that politicians broke their silence because we all know what’s going on”, Mr Houssin added.

On Saturday a Juvenile Magistrate placed the youth in an open young offenders centre. A week earlier he was involved in the violence on the beach at the West Flemish coastal resort of Blankenberge. He was given a community service sentence. 

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