Five months after the implementation of the new police reform, discontent remains a significant problem. Police officers have in particular deplored personnel shortages and structural issues.
The purpose of the new legislation was to provide residents with closer proximity and increased police availability. The intention was to better organise police stations, but that has not happened in reality.
One of the changes made through the reform has been to ensure that police stations remain open over lunch time by staffing them with personnel from larger stations. However, this isn't a practical and workable solution, according to Pascal Ricquier, president of the police trade union SNPGL.
Ricquier explained that officers have to travel from a larger police station to open a smaller one for two hours just in case somebody comes by. All the while, the larger police station then has a personnel shortage.
The trade union believes that the reform lacked an in-depth analysis of specific solutions for specific areas. Even so, Ricquier explained that the police still has an issue with recruitment. As former Defense Minister Etienne Schneider promised, over two years the police received more recruits, but the past year has shown disappointing numbers.
Ricquier explained that only 41 people passed the 'basic tactical instruction' in Diekirch, which was only enough to compensate for retiring police officers.
As for those already in the force, there are concerns about career progression. Many fear that the B1 career option (whereby people are recruited straight from secondary school) is simply not available to them. Those concerned are around 500 people who went from graduating secondary school to joining the police.
The trade union reiterated its issues with the law orientating itself on an incompatible European directive. Next week, the SNPGL will meet with Minister François Bausch, and the trade union hopes that the minister will be receptive to providing solutions to its issues.