Belgium: After bad day in Borgerhout, body cams for police with limitations
Belgium: After the yes non-gaming game about the police intervention in Borgerhout, Antwerps mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) wants agents to get body cams as soon as possible.
For the summer, they received green light from the government, but still have to go past parliament. By the end of this year – or early next year – the camera law could go into effect.
What happened Friday night in Borgerhout? There is discussion about it. Officers of the bicycle brigade would have been clashed by bystanders.
But after that, images of a neighborhood resident discovered that would contradict that. “Look, police violence”, someone calls in the video.
The Weaver, in any case, resolutely draws the card of the agents. “This is a blow to them, they are part of the cycling team, they are not heavy boys. They are attacked, run contagions … They are heavily impressed and are now called liars. That’s really nonsense.” According to the mayor, there is only one solution. “We want bodycams as soon as possible,” he said in “VTM News” yesterday.
The spokesperson for Minister Jambon confirms Monday morning that a bill in this sense has been approved by the Council of Ministers before the summer. This means that agents can use body cams, although there are limitations. Thus, agents are not meant to be able to film anywhere and anywhere. In a heated situation, they can make use of it after the person or persons concerned have been informed that it will be filmed, it sounds. After the intervention, the body cams have to turn off again.
The part of the new camera act is still on the table at the Council of State. If it comes out without tearing out, it must still be launched by parliament. The implementation in practice therefore does not seem to occur right away.
Criminologist Brice De Ruyver is already in favor of using the cameras. “If discussions arise, it’s good that there is evidence and that it’s not just word-to-word. It’s an instrument that lets you exclude discussions,” he said in “The Morning” on Radio 1 this morning. UGent professor footage provides useful educational material for police schools.
In anticipation of the body cams, De Wever invokes the neighborhood residents. He asked them to “send a signal” and hoped they would tell the perpetrators. But he got a very different signal: a peaceful march of 150 people against “the mayor’s polarizing language”.
VSOA Police opposed to measure
VSOA Police can not be found for the use of body cams. The police union fears that the device will be a “second control tool” for the police officer. He advocates a more coherent approach to both violence against agents and counterfeit declarations.
It is not the first time that the bodycam is discussed. There was also a project on the table during the previous legislature. Eventually, the bodycam did not reach the final measurement. According to VSOA Police, the text was legally “hooks and eyes” but also because quite a few mayors chased a hat when they heard that a bodycam cost a little a thousand euros and because the images became “worthless” .
More fundamentally, the liberal union fears that the bodycam will once again become a control agent for the police, who must work every day in difficult circumstances. VSOA contradicts the argument that the images will be in favor of the agent. “One tries to carry out a reversed burden of proof. The policeman has to prove his innocence on the basis of the recorded images. This method is unworthy of a rule of law.”
In addition, the number of false complaints against agents will not decrease “by being suspicious of its own staff”. According to VSOA, it also makes little sense of confidence that the quality of the processes will continue and that there will be no discussion about the intervention of agents. The trade union finally warns that the cause of a violent act is not registered, but only the response of the agents is filmed, “with all the consequences of it”.
Translated from Source