Committee P, which oversees police forces, has received 235 complaints from citizens who feel unfairly treated by the police in enforcing the corona rules since March 18, when the corona measures took effect.
According to Nancy Van Barel, the spokeswoman for Committee P, the 235 complaints are diverse. “Our analysts see different categories. Some people dispute the findings of the police. So that is about citizens who are dissatisfied that they were fined for violating a corona measure. ‘
The attitude of the police officer also sometimes gives rise to complaints.
For example, it became known two weeks ago that a urologist had filed a complaint with Committee P against the Dilbeek police. That was about an official report dated April 27 about a non-essential displacement. According to the doctor, he took a patient complaining of testicular pain to the hospital. The urologist disputed that the displacement was non-essential. The patient was in the backseat when the police stopped the car, but the explanation was implausible.
There are other types of complaints. “It could be a lack of measures that the police would have taken,” says Van Barel. ‘That is, for example, about not wearing a mouth mask and gloves, not using disinfectants, not respecting social distancing …’
‘The attitude of the police officer also sometimes gives rise to complaints. This mainly concerns aggression, rudeness and intimidating language or the use of unlawful coercion or violence. ‘ If criminal offenses are involved, the committee will forward the complaints to the public prosecutor’s office.
Complaints have also been lodged with Committee P about entering the city, whereby the police can enter a private home on their own to identify infringements of the corona measures. During the lockdown, this was a means to stop parties and gatherings. The National Police Database does not contain any information to find out how many houses the police forces entered. A survey by De Tijd at the end of April showed that it had hardly happened at the time. Committee P has received at least eight complaints about this. In three cases, the complainant asked questions about the legal consequences of the procedure for entering the home.
235 complaints are good if you know that more than 119,000 infringements have already been identified
Finally, there are complaints about police officers who did not intervene or remained passive after reporting by citizens of violations of the corona measures. Sometimes it is also about disrespecting someone’s request to remain anonymous as a reporter. And there were complaints about a lack of neutrality and impartiality in controls. ”
“I was not aware of complaints about the actions of the police,” said Nico Paelinck, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the local police. “But 235 complaints are not too bad if you know that more than 119,000 infringements have been established and that 80 percent of the complaints to Committee P usually turn out to be unjustified.”