Local Police Voorkempen: smaller events can also have risks

Local Police Voorkempen: smaller events can also have risks

By  Ilse Jacobs, Adviser, and Geert Smet, Chief of Police – Local Police Voorkempen. Concerning mass gatherings it is obvious that big countries and/or police forces especially participate in a project such as LETSCROWD.

But also ‘small’ mass gatherings can face risks.

The Belgian police is structured on two levels: the federal and the local level. These 2 levels are autonomous and come under the authority of different departments. They complement one another and work in close cooperation in order to contribute to security and to maintain democracy in Belgium.

The local level is made up of police zones. Each police zone is composed of one or several municipalities. The Local Police perform the ‘basic police function’: district policing, reception, intervention, aid to victims, local investigation, public order and traffic. The Local Police is also supposed to accomplish some Federal Police missions. These include for example the maintenance of law and order during major events or soccer matches and the crowd control during these events. The Local Police is composed of 187 police zones spread over the whole territory of Belgium and employ almost 33 000 staff members. The Local Police Voorkempen (LPV) is formed by the municipalities Brecht, Malle, Schilde and Zoersel (+86 000 inhabitants) and is situated in the east side of the province of Antwerp. We have about 178 staff members whereof 137 operational ones.

The core business of the Local Police Voorkempen provides an effective victim support and doing proper effectively investigations and the managing of local events and/or traffic flows.

As a police force in the LETSCROWD consortium we act as a LEA providing its know-how in the requirements and use cases phase. We have some knowledge within our police zone and good contacts within the integrated police. Although we don’t have such a big mass events in our own police zone, on the basis of solidarity our people provide assistance to bigger mass events taking place in other parts of Belgium.

New technological applications from private partners are regularly tested during events. Often the initiative is taken from a private partner who thinks to know what we need as a police force. However, this technology is not always tailored to our needs or it isn’t possible to make a connection between different (police-specific) applications so we have to enter the same data in different applications. This is quite labour-intensive and just before or during an event is time not always the luxury we have.

We will actively participate in the practical demonstrations, evaluate the outcomes of the project, and in the dissemination of the project. Our aim is to obtain tools that are useful for both large and smaller events. They must provide support for the work of police officers. So these tools must be user-friendly.