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Police unions demand Justice Minister’s resignation

After an attack on two police officers that left one of them dead and the other injured the unions that represent the country’s police officers are demanding the resignation of the Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Flemish liberal). The police unions say that those that commit acts of violence against police in Brussels and other major cities have enjoyed “impunity” for years. 

However, in an interview with VRT News Mr Van Quickenborne has responded by saying that "Barely a month after my appointment, I decided to introduce a zero-tolerance directive for all violence against the police."

The police unions are outraged after Thursday night's fatal stabbing in Schaarbeek in which a police officer died. The unions are demanding the resignation of the Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Flemish liberal). Carlo Medo of the NSPV union told VRT News that "People are very angry about what is happening in this country. That is why there are calls for the minister's resignation.” Mr Medo went on to say that that “ We want immediate measures that benefit the police officers. Today they feel really let down."

However, in an interview with VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’, Mr Van Quickenborne responded by quoting the Chief Commissioner of the Brussels-Capital-Elsene Local Police Service Michel Goovaerts "after thirty years in the force he notes that violence against the police is now being dealt with more strictly. Why is that? Because in November 2020, one month after my appointment, I decided to introduce a zero-tolerance guideline for all acts of violence against the police. Any incident of violence that results in at least 1 day’s incapacity for work will result in prosecution”.

“I have sent this directive to all Police Chiefs throughout the country. They have been told that 'If you see 1 case where violence against the police is not being dealt with please report it to me.' I have received no such reports of this from them and they say that violence is indeed being dealt with more strictly. So what the union is saying is wrong."

Transparency

The minister also intends to answer parliamentary questions on the issues arising from Thursday evening’s fatal stabbing on Monday. He is likely to face some tough questioning. Also speaking on VRT Radio 1, the Group Leader of the far-right Vlaams Belang in the Flemish Parliament Chris Jansssens said that it "will be impossible for Mr Van Quickenborne to survive this politically. As far as I'm concerned, dismissal seems to be the only option."

However, Van Quickenborne responds by saying "I myself have offered to explain things to Parliament as soon as possible. I will also be able to say what exactly happened and how that man had been followed up. I will offer complete transparency and clarity. "

 

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