Federal Police (Belgium)

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Federal Police
Federale Politie (Dutch)
Police Fédérale (French)
Föderale Polizei (German)
Politie-Police.svg
Bilingual logo of the Belgian Police
Agency overview
Formed 2001
Preceding agencies
Employees 12,262 (9,065 operatives and 3,197 civilian personnel)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Belgium
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction.
General nature
Operational structure
Agency executive Catherine De Bolle,
General Commissioner
Website
http://www.polfed-fedpol.be/
Footnotes
Reference for above data.[1]

The Federal Police (Dutch: Federale Politie; French: Police Fédérale) carries out specialized and supra-local administrative and judicial police operations, and supports both local and federal police services and units. The Federal Police has approximately 12,300 officers and civilian personnel.[2]

The Federal Police is commanded by General Commissioner (CG) Catherine De Bolle, who holds the rank of chief commissioner. She is in charge of the General Commissioner's Office on which three general directorates depend: the General Directorate of the Administrative Police (DGA), the General Directorate of the Judicial Police (DGJ) and the General Directorate of Support and Management (DGS). Each General Directorate is led by a General Director (DG), also holding the rank of chief commissioner.

General Commissioner's Office (CG)[edit]

The General Commissioner 's Office (Dutch: Commissariaat-Generaal; French: Commissariat-Général; German: Generalkommissariat ) incorporates all the top-level central services of the Federal Police. It is commanded by the General Commissioner who directs and manages the Federal Police and ensures regular contact with the Local Police. The Office is responsible for integrated police operations, coordination, cooperation with local police and foreign police, intelligence gathering and management, dispatching and external communication.

The directorates of the Commissioner General's Office (CG)[edit]

  • Directorate of Operational Police Information (CGO)
  • Directorate of International Police Cooperation (CGI)
  • Directorate of Relations with the Local Police (CGL)
  • Directorate of Special Units (CGSU)
  • 27 decentralised Directorates of Coordination and Support (CSD/DCA)
    • Intervention Corps (CIK) (11 platoons)

The Office manages the CGSU special units (SWAT / Counter-terrorism, the Disaster Victim Identification unit and covert surveillance teams) and the national criminal information database.

The Directorate of International Police Cooperation (CGI) is Belgium’s national central bureau for the European Police Office (Europol), Schengen Information System and International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

The General Commissioner's Office also includes decentralized Coordination and Support Directorates (CSD/DCA) located in each judicial district. The CSD's, headed by coordinating directors (DirCo's), represent the Federal Police in the field and act as the link between the Local and the Federal Police. They play a key role in the integrated functioning of Belgium's police, together with the decentralized Directorates of the Judicial Police (FGP/PJF) which are also present in each judicial district. The CSD/DCA's offer support (logistical, personnel-related, managerial) and coordination to both local police forces and the other federal police units. In other words: the CSD/DCA's provide mainly administrative police services, while the FGP/PJF's offer judicial police services.

The Coordination and Support Directorates of the capital city of each province and of Brussels each command a platoon of the federal police's non-specialized intervention reserve: the Intervention Corps (CIK). The CIK concists of 500 non-specialized police officers which can be requested by local police forces and federal units for support in diverse missions. The specialized intervention reserve is provided by the Specialized Intervention service (GIS) of the General Directorate of the Administrative Police.

General Directorate of the Administrative Police (DGA)[edit]

This general directorate, abbreviated as DGA (Dutch: Algemene Directie Bestuurlijke Politie; French: Direction Générale Police Administrative; German: Generaldirektion Verwaltungspolizei), is the uniformed branch of the Belgian Federal Police which provides both specialized and supra-local services. Its counterpart is the General Directorate of Judicial Police, containing the non-uniformed investigative personnel. The Administrative Police concists of several directorates which command the different federal police units. The DGA performs administrative police operations such as traffic policing on the main roads, waterway policing on the North Sea and waterways, railway policing on the railways and in the stations, air policing at the national airport and in the five regional airports, immigration and border control, air and police dog support. The members of this general directorate also carry out protection missions, such as escorting the transport of valuables or the protection of royal palaces.

Moreover, the directorate supports the administrative authorities and the Local Police, for instance by supplying specialized staff and equipment (water cannons, etc.) for order maintenance missions.

The directorates of the DGA[edit]

  • Directorate of Administrative Police Operations (DAO)
  • Directorate of the Road Police (DAH)
    • Road Police (WPR)
  • Air Police (LPA)
  • Railway Police (SPC)
  • Waterway Police (SPN)
  • Mounted Police (CAV)
  • Specialized Intervention service (GIS)
  • Dog Support service (DACH)
  • Air Support service (DAFA)
  • Royal Palaces Security Detachment (VDKP/DPPR)
  • Federal Police at SHAPE

The Royal Palaces Security Detachment is responsible for protecting the Belgian Royal Family and their palaces, while the detachment at the SHAPE protects the SHAPE headquarters which is located at Casteau north of the Belgian city of Mons.

The Road Police has approximately 1000 officers who monitor traffic on the major highways.

The Waterway Police regulates ship navigation on inland waterways and on the North Sea.

The Railway Police is divided into five divisions and its 470 officers patrol the railways and stations to prevent crime and damage to rail property.

The Air Police maintains security at Brussels International Airport and at five regional airports. Finally, the immigration and border protection police is responsible for manning border crossing points and controlling immigration.

The Specialized Intervention service provides support to local police services by providing them with specialized personnel and equipment for maintaining order (water cannon, armoured personnel carriers, evidence and arrest teams, lock-on teams). It is also responsible for close protection missions, escorts and protection of valuable transports and guarding Belgian embassies abroad. The General Reserve also provides for the Belgian Royal Mounted Escort.

The Air Support service offers specialized support to the police such as event management (traffic jams, plane crashes, crowds, sporting events, etc.). The group’s five helicopters and two planes also search for missing people, suspects, clandestine laboratories, etc. The protection of VIPs and the transport of funds is also part of the mission.

The Dog Support service has 35 dog teams. Some dogs are trained to detect drugs, human remains, hormones or fire accelerants. About a third are tracker dogs trained to find or identify living people. These teams are often deployed to earthquake areas to locate people trapped in collapsed buildings. The federal police’s explosive detector dogs are attached to the CGSU special units.

General Directorate of the Judicial Police (DGJ)[edit]

The General Directorate of the Judicial Police (Dutch: Algemene Directie Gerechtelijke politie; French: Direction Générale Police Judiciaire; German: Generaldirektion Gerichtspolizei) is a large component that operates at both the central level (from its Brussels-based headquarters) and local levels (through deconcentrated directorates (FGP/DPJ) in each judicial district).[3]

The directorates of the DGJ[edit]

The DGJ's seven central bureaus coordinate serious crime investigations at the national and international level:

  • Directorate of Judicial Police Operations (DJO)
  • Directorate of Crime against Persons (DJP)
  • Directorate of Crime against Goods (DJB)
  • Directorate of Economic and Financial Crime (DJF)
  • Directorate of Organised Crime (DJC)
  • Directorate of Technical and Scientific Police (DJT)
  • Directorate of Operations in Military Environments (DJMM)
  • 27 decentralized Directorates of Judicial Police (FGP/PJF)

The Judicial Police Operations Directorate (DJO) manages the use and payment of police informants. It also coordinates and supports the operations of the decentralised investigation bureaux. The DJO also manages the national center for police information management and criminal analysis. Moreover, the operations section assists in the deployment of special units.

The Personal Crime Directorate (DJP) specialises in cases involving human trafficking, violence against people, missing persons, terrorism, sects and drugs.

The Property Crime Directorate (DJB) specialises in cases involving armed robberies, stolen vehicles, arms smuggling, organized gangs of thieves, art and antiquities, hormones and environmental crime. It also operates the FAST (Fugitives Active Search Team) that tracks down fugitives from justice, whether they are residents of Belgium or foreigners hiding out in Belgium.

The Economic and Financial Crime Directorate (DJF) fights corruption, organised economic and financial crime, computer crime (Federal Computer Crime Unit - FCCU) and forgery.

The Organised Crime Directorate (DJC) combats organised crime at the strategic level as well as the operational and tactical levels. Its purview currently includes mafia, Asian, Balkan, Russian and Hells Angels crime gangs. The DJC also operates the Belgian witness protection program.

The Technical and Scientific Police Directorate (DJT) operates the fingerprint identification system and maintains laboratories for forensic and scientific work, audio and video analysis, and research and development. Other sections concentrate on profiling, special interrogation techniques and polygraphs.

The Military Crime Directorate (DJMM) specializes in investigations involving the armed forces. It operates both on Belgian territory and at Belgian bases abroad. The activities of the DJMM are multi-faceted but are mainly of a financial nature involving corruption, fraud, embezzlement and forgery.

The decentralised directorates of the DGJ (FGP/PJF)[edit]

Eighty-five percent of the DGJ's personnel is assigned to 27 decentralised investigation directorates, abbreviated as FGP/PJF.[3] Manpower at each district varies: small bureaus can have as few as 40 personnel whereas the large ones can exceed 200. The organisation and management of these units are entrusted to the judicial directors (DirJu) (Dutch:gerechtelijk directeur /French: directeur judiciaire). Each decentralised FGP/PJF is made up of several sections directed towards the region's main criminal phenomena and executes specific support or criminal investigation missions. Although organisation differs from one district to another, sections dealing with drugs, people smuggling, financial and organized crime, vehicle theft rings are the most common. In addition, the PJF/FGP provides support services for the federal and local police, such as computer crime units, technical and forensic support, criminal information, operational criminal analysis and coordination with the administrative police.

District Information Crossroads (AIK/CIA)[edit]

Each investigative district has a criminal information centre (Dutch: Arrondissementeel informatiekruispunt; French: Carrefour d’information d’arrondissement; German: Informationsknotenpunkt des Bezirks) manned by federal and local police officers to facilitate the coordination of investigations. Each centre processes the criminal data from the local and federal police forces to analyze recent cases and events, thus identifying trends and issuing any necessary warnings.[4] It also correlates the connections between cases, people, vehicles, etc. and sorts information for operational and strategic purposes. Each AIK/CIA contributes to the cross-border exchange of police data and supports the managers of the police zones with data processing capabilities. Each chief of investigations has overall responsibility for an AIK/CIA but a department chief ensures the daily management of the centre.

General Directorate of Support and Management (DGS)[edit]

The Support and Administration Department (Dutch: Algemene directie van de ondersteuning en het beheer; French: Direction Générale de l'appui et de la gestion; German: Generaldirektion der Unterstützung und der Verwaltung) performs the administrative, resource management, logistical and recruitment support for all federal police units and for local police forces in limited terms. The department also provides the local and federal police with equipment, support and training.[5]

The directorates of the DGS[edit]

  • Directorate of Legal Affairs, Litigation and Statutes (DSJ)
  • Directorate of Recruitment and Selection (DSR)
  • Directorate of Mobility and Staff Management (DSP)
  • Directorate of Internal Relations (DSI)
  • Directorate of Internal Prevention and Protection at Work (DSW)
  • Directorate of Purchase (DSA)
  • Directorate of Infrastructure and Equipment (DSM)
  • Directorate of Logistical Support (DSL)
  • Directorate of Finances (DSF)
  • Directorate of Telematics (DST)
  • Medical Service (DSDM)

The Telematics Directorate (DST) manages the ASTRID digital radio network that the police and all emergency and security services (fire departments, customs, etc.) use for operational communication in the field.

The Training Directorate (DSE) is responsible for the recruitment and the training programs for the entire Belgian police. It analyses training needs and drafts a global training plan for the integrated police. As a think-thank, the training department provides advice regarding the training of the involved agencies. Specific educational tools are regularly developed by the directorate, either upon request or at its own initiative. The DSE ensures the proper application of the various training programs by means of managerial contracts with police academies and by approving training programs. Thus it ensures the conformity of training quality and guarantees financial equity between police academies. It represents Belgium on the governing board of the European Police College (CEPOL) and pilots cross-border police training projects with France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Police Academies[edit]

Belgium’s police academies provide all the basic, specialised, revision and advanced courses for all the members of the integrated police, whether from the federal or local police. There are two types of school: ministry schools and approved police schools. The three ministry academies in Brussels fall directly under the DSE. The Interior Ministry owns the federal police and national school for senior officers, and the Justice Ministry runs the national investigation school.

  • The Federal Police School is responsible for specialised and refresher training. It also supports the approved schools by managing the students and providing instructors.
  • The National School for Senior Officers provides career training for senior officers, as well as certain special and professional development courses.
  • The National Investigation School trains new detectives, as well as middle and senior-level investigation officers. This school is also responsible for the professional development training of criminal investigation units, both local and federal.

Every province in the country except Walloon Brabant has a police training institution. These academies are either non-profit organisations or provincial or interregional institutions. There are a total of ten (in Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Genk, Asse, Liege, Arlon, Namur, Jurbise and one for the Brussels region which is bilingual). A managerial contract between the Interior Minister and the school’s management is concluded annually. Even though these schools are not directly part of the police structure, they play an essential role in police training.

Ranks[edit]

The ranks of the Federal Police are the same as those in use in local police forces. The ranks currently are civic, as opposed to the paramilitary ranks that were in use in the former Belgian Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie, which was the Federal Police's main predecessor. This was chosen during the 1998–2001 reformation of the Belgian police forces to emphasize the change to a less militaristic police force, because paramilitary traits were considered less transparent as well as less approachable and thus less desirable.

The difference between local police and the Federal Police is shown by the different colors of the styling lines (orange for the Federal Police and light blue for local police) on the insignia, which are worn on the left chest pocket flap. Officers of both entities are hierarchically equal. Auxiliary officers are rather rare within the Federal Police and can mainly be found in the Air Police where they are deployed for traffic control at the Belgian airports.

cadre rank rank insignia Federal Police
Officer level

(commissioned officers)

chief commissioner

(hoofdcommissaris - commissaire divisionnaire)

CDP polfed
commissioner

(commissaris - commissaire)

CP polfed
Candidate Police Commissioner

(aspirant-commissaris - aspirant-commissaire)

ACP polfed
Middle-level

(non-commissioned officers)

chief inspector

(hoofdinspecteur - inspecteur principal) equal to sergeant

INPP polfed
candidate chief inspector

(aspirant-hoofdinspecteur - aspirant-inspecteur principal)

AINPP polfed
Base-level

(officers)

inspector

(inspecteur - inspecteur)

base rank; full powers; equal to constable or officer

INP polfed
candidate Inspector

(aspirant-inspecteur - aspirant-inspecteur)

AINP polfed
Auxiliary level (auxiliary) officer

(agent - agent)

limited powers; not to be confused with constable or officer; formerly known as "auxiliary officer"

AP polfed
candidate (auxiliary) officer

(aspirant-agent - aspirant-agent)

AAP polfed

Equipment[edit]

Weapons[edit]

Until September, 2011, nine out of ten Belgian Federal Police officers were equipped with the 9x19mm Parabellum FN GP 35 semi-automatic pistol. Other semi-automatic pistols used by the Federal Police included various 9mm Glock models.

On March, 2011, it was revealed that both the FN GP 35 and the Glock models would be replaced by the 9x19mm Parabellum Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic pistol due to safety concerns, especially when comparing the recently designed M&P with the far older GP 35. The American-designed pistol was also found to adapt better to the specifications than the other five competitors, and its cost wouldn't be significantly higher than that of the GP 35.

The replacement was decided in December 2010, and 3,000 M&Ps out of a total of 8,000 were delivered in September, 2011. The M&Ps will be used to equip all of the Belgian Federal Police officers.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Federal Police: presentation". Federal police - Department Public Relations and Protocol. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  2. ^ Federal police OSCE entry http://polis.osce.org/countries/details?item_id=8
  3. ^ a b [1] the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (available in Dutch, French and German)
  4. ^ http://www.polfed-fedpol.be/org/org_dgj_aik_nl.php AIK/CIA (available in Dutch, French and German)
  5. ^ http://www.polfed-fedpol.be/org/org_newdgs_nl.php/ the Support and Administration Department (available in Dutch, French and German)
  6. ^ "Archives - lesoir.be". lesoir.be. Retrieved 2014-01-27.