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The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium?

Authors:
  • Flemish Peace Institute

Abstract and Figures

The evolution from government to governance leading to multiple partnerships in policing and in pluralization of regular police functions is widespread in Europe. Although this trend is frequently described and analysed by Anglo-Saxon scholars, empiric research findings outside the United Kingdom are scarce. In this article we focus on the organisation of the Belgian regular police force and the passing on of particular police functions to other -as well private as public- partners and agencies. We analyse the situation after the major police reform in 1998, and situate the research findings in the broader context of changes in police systems in different countries. Police centralisation and decentralisation movements do influence outsourcing tendencies. We develop a theoretical overview of the issue of plural policing on the one hand and a theoretical framework to allocate reforms in police systems in different countries on the other. For Belgium we analyse the organisational and operational setting of the regular police, and public and private agents performing police tasks. The empirical research is based on an in-depth study of 25 years of security policy in Belgium (interviews with politicians) and an extended document analysis [ 86,87]. Concluding we discuss the specific place the regular police, called a ‘cannibal police force’ still takes within the security governance, leaving no place for outsourcing to private partners.
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Volume 1 Issue 4 - 2015
Associate professor, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author: Elke Devroe, Associate professor,
University of Leiden, Institute of Public Administration,
Institute of Public Administration, Faculty Campus The Hague,
Schouwburgstraat 2, 2511 VA The Hague, The Netherlands,
Tel: 0031 70 8009375; 0032 488 29 33 60 ; Email:
Received: October 15, 2015 | Published: November 25, 2015
Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal
The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really
Exist in Belgium?
Review Article
Introduction
The evolution towards ‘plural policing’ or ‘pluralization’ of
governance of order and security, emerging from the latter part
of the 20th Century onwards, is frequently analysed by Anglo-
Saxon scholars [3-13]. Multiple models of partnerships unite
police with a range of private security, government agencies,
organized groups, neighborhood watch groups and citizens
[14]. In different countries, the relationships among the group
members and the police can vary but is guided by distinct
laws, policies, customs and practices. These efforts are now
subsumed under a popular new policing movement: a strategy
now labeled ‘plural policing’ or ‘third-party policing.’ Plural
policing combines the concepts ‘policing’ and ‘plural’. The
transference from ‘police’ to ‘policing’ refers to the shift from
government to governance with the state being no longer the
exclusive provider of security [15-18]. The metaphor of a rowing
boat was used where the state concentrates on the steering
functions of governance, leaving the responsibility of rowing to
other, more dispersed agent’ [19,20]. The security provision is,
in neo-liberal societies, executed by a dispersed group of agents,
as well state (like regular police) actors as non-state (private
security and citizens) actors, each with partial responsibility for
the delivery of security policing-, services and technologies [21].
The sovereign state ‘hitherto considered focal to both provision
 
of a broader, more diverse ‘network of power’ [3]. As the state
police cannot longer act alone on complex issues of crime and
  

policing have emerged, including subcontracted police and
  
and street wardens, estate rangers, caretakers and concierges, as
well as private security guards and citizen patrols [22-24]. Often,
the concept of plural policing seems to be coupled to supposed
new (‘networked’ or ‘nodal’) forms of governance of security
[25].
     
of police roles and functions within and external to public
police agencies [26], referred to as a process of ‘auxiliarisation
(taken civilians into the police force) [9,19,27-31]. Johnston
[27] points at the important intra-organisational dimension
of ‘auxiliarisation’ as a part of the pluralization process. Public
police services deploy what can be termed as ‘civilians in
uniform’, that is ‘quasi’ uniformed police personnel whose
role is to enhance the delivery of police services and augment
traditional policing functions (e.g., foot patrols) [26]. According
to Zedner [14] attempts for non-police governmental employees
or private citizens to provide support to prevent or reduce crime
and deviance, often occurred. This can be called ‘joint policing’,
collaborative, proactive, preventive actions to reduce or remove
crime and to protect and secure spaces and places [11]. The
process of ‘joint policing’ involves partnerships of multiple
stakeholders to circumvent deviancy and crime, including
citizens efforts [32].
       
illustrating the growing role of private security in policing ‘mass
private property’ [33-35]. More and more security governance
Submit Manuscript | http://medcraveonline.com Forensic Res Criminol Int J 2015, 1(4): 00023
Abstract
The evolution from government to governance leading to multiple partnerships
in policing and in pluralization of regular police functions is widespread in
Europe. Although this trend is frequently described and analysed by Anglo-Saxon
scholars, empiric research findings outside the United Kingdom are scarce. In
this article we focus on the organisation of the Belgian regular police force and
the passing on of particular police functions to other -as well private as public-
partners and agencies. We analyse the situation after the major police reform
in 1998, and situate the research findings in the broader context of changes in
police systems in different countries. Police centralisation and decentralisation
movements do influence outsourcing tendencies. We develop a theoretical
overview of the issue of plural policing on the one hand and a theoretical
framework to allocate reforms in police systems in different countries on the
other. For Belgium we analyse the organisational and operational setting of
the regular police, and public and private agents performing police tasks. The
empirical research is based on an in-depth study of 25 years of security policy in
Belgium (interviews with politicians) and an extended document analysis [1,2].
Concluding we discuss the specific place the regular police, called a ‘cannibal
police force’ still takes within the security governance, leaving no place for
outsourcing to private partners.
Keywords: Plural policing; Pluralization; Police; Public order; Mayor;
Municipalities; Public space
The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium? Copyright:
©2015 Devroe 2/9
Citation: Devroe E (2015) The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium?. Forensic Res Criminol Int J 1(4): 00023. DOI:
10.15406/frcij.2015.01.00023
in public spaces is undertaken privately, thus calling further into
question conventional explanations of the distinction between
the roles of public and private authorities [36]. Privatization,
as in the ‘contracting out’ of urban services, has been heralded
        
government service delivery [20]. According to Feigenbaum&
Henig [37], privatization is part of a broader agenda to shrink
government and shift the social contract. For municipalities,
however, the approach to privatization can be just a pragmatic
one focused on experimenting with new forms of service delivery

The proposition of pluralization of policing often seemed to
have reached the status of a universal, rather identical process
throughout the world [41]. This trend was not only analysed as
the rise of plural policing, but also an increasingly disconnecting
of ‘police’ and ‘policing’, or as the establishment of a ‘police
extended family’, a concept which embodies the latest attempt
to secure police sovereignty over the governance of community
         
       
(PCSOs) [4,42,43]. Until recently, however, outside the Anglo-
Saxon world there was a lack of empirical studies on plural
policing [41]. Anglo-Saxon literature, like the important study
of Loader [3] and Jones & Newburn [9] was to a large extent
dominating the theme. Additional empirical research in
continental countries are needed. So can results from a multiple
case study design be a precondition for detailed understanding
of the institutional contexts, cultures, historical traditions and
agency of actors that have a bearing on how plural forms of
   
contingencies relate to the intra-organisational dynamics
driving the pluralization of policing, which Johnston [27] argues
has been neglected in studies of security governance.
That meant that until now this claim of a universally similar
trend has seemed to remain largely uncontested [45]. In fact,
the lack of international comparisons implied that theories and
   
(Anglo-Saxon) sample of countries. The scarce international
comparative research shows though that one should be careful
with inaccurate generalizations [46]. Could Anglo-Saxon
evolutions be transferred to other, civil law ‘Napoleonistic’
continental countries, like Belgium? Do we observe the same
privatization expansion as we detect in the Netherlands and the
United Kingdom?
In an effort to broaden the empirical knowledge body on
pluralization, this article analyses the Belgian evolution of
policing security (by the regular police and other actors) on
a local level. The data were gathered by a multiple case study,
analysing 25 years (1985-2010) of security governance1 in
Belgium2. Community policing being the mandatory police
model since the police reform in 1998 , we limit this article to
1For a broader description of the research design and results, see Devroe
(2012a) ‘A Swelling Culture of Control?’ (PHD).
2In fact in the Act on the police Reform ‘Act on the Integrated Police on
two levels’, 1998, no notions were made with respect to Community Polic-

COP-model was only cited in the Explanatory Memorandum of the Act.

Therefore it lay provisionally as a structural change in the Act (Law of the
‘Integrated Police on two levels’, 1998).
police functions where close contact with citizens is required3
. We focus on police-citizen contacts in public space, and
thus functions like surveillance, intervention, foot patrol and
neighborhood policing. Loader’s [2] theoretical framework on
the extent and nature of pluralization in mind, namely policing
       
dimension ‘above’ government (developments in transnational
policing arrangements) is not discussed in this article.

       
        
securitization trends and extended crime control arrangements.
A second paragraph analysis police reforms in different

the second (empirical) section we focus on the Belgian situation.
       
the police organization itself, in particular after the reform of
       
surveillance and control outside the regular police, such as
‘community guards’ and ‘community guard recorders’. Figures
will clarify the different arrangements. The conclusive section
will formulate an answer to the central statement of many
Anglo-Saxon scholars that industrialized countries are becoming
increasingly ‘pluralized-privatized’ and regular police is losing
its ‘core’ functions in favour of other, non-police actors.
eories on international policing evolutions
Securitization and the extended tentacles of crime
control
The securitization process, commonly transforming
problems into security issues, increased extremely after 9/11
[47]. The so-called ‘Copenhagen School’ approaches security
as a social construct [48-50], where issues are presented as
existential threats and use of exceptional measures are seen
as legitimized in dealing with such threats. On a smaller scale,
we can refer to ‘risk justice’ [51], governance not lead by
concrete, individual suspicion but by generalizing risks from
certain groups and certain places, also called ‘risk taxation’ [52].
The neo-liberal way of thinking focused on enforcement and
control of undisciplined people in need [53]. ‘The fear is that
       
need to be controlled and managed, rather than addressed in
themselves’ [54]. Crime was extended to daily life problem of
incivilities and social disorder, problems that –according to
an anxious and intolerant population [55] and a withdrawing
central state- had to be dealt with by other (public and private)
local agencies and citizens themselves. It is about an approach
which seeks to enable local communities or neighbourhoods to
develop the protective capacity to reduce or eliminate the risks
of crime and disorder [56].
Scholars describe the expansion of the ‘safety’ concept
to ‘community safety’ [6,25], where ‘Community safety is
concerned with more than crime and aims to get to the heart of
what disrupts people’s quality of life’ [57]. The key good to be
achieved is the overriding collective good of public order, from
with citizens derive their private security and offenders their
3-

this contribution.
Citation: Devroe E (2015) The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium?. Forensic Res Criminol Int J 1(4): 00023. DOI:
10.15406/frcij.2015.01.00023
The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium? Copyright:
©2015 Devroe 3/9
stake in conformity’ [57]. Community safety refers to the wish
to meet peoples risk and threat perception in neighbourhoods
[19]. So plural policing is often organized on a local level [58,59],
it is about ‘an approach of crime management that places crime
and disorder within a local community context and attempts to
address it within that context’ [60]. Forms of control became
increasingly inscribed into the fabric of local territorial and spatial
interactions [61]. Safety became the primary policy goal ‘which
sits at the intersection of attempts by the state to deliver welfare
and security, and policing and control in local communities’ [62].
The ‘preoccupation with local safety- particularly with low-
level incivilities and sub-criminal categories of ‘disorder’ – also

policy widened to the ‘quality of life’ discourse, where ‘quality of
life’ represents a desire by urban residents to be free from the
dirt, disorder, and incivilities that were widespread [63]. Public

contemporary crime and disorder problems in rather simplistic
terms of the breakdown of informal control, moral decline
and a collapse in social capital [6]. It is logic that the regular
police could impossibly be the sole actor in tackling all these
problems [64]. Besides this fact, government emphasis on the
‘criminalization’ of disorder and anti-social ‘behaviour’ [65,34],
along with the emphasis on partnership working, linking local
municipalities and other public agencies into policing activities,
particularly those relating to ‘behaviour in public spaces [7].
The policy of anti-social ‘behaviour suggests an increasingly
disciplinary society and, contrary to contemporary political
rhetoric regarding social inclusion, a markedly more exclusive
one, selectively targeting a particular range of stigmatized
behaviours and individuals for reasons that are often beyond
the perpetrators control and, at best, for which they are seldom
solely responsible’ [67]. Worldwide the security sector has
        
many different tasks [68-71]. The welfare state was replaced by
market principles through the privatization of public spaces and
services and an overall shrinkage of government [72]. Where
‘public’ (in the sense of public good) could be an indication of
certain societal values, such as justice, solidarity, equality and
inclusivity, ‘private’ stands for commercializing [73]. In some
cases public–private partnerships are being promoted as an
alternative to privatization because they maintain a relational
interaction [74].
Another important aspect of pluralization within state-
provided policing concerns the growing involvement of
municipalities in the provision of integral security and policing
        
municipal policing including the provision of local authority
patrols, the employment of public auxiliaries, and various
activities associated with the policing of low level incivilities
and anti-social behaviour. During the 1980s and 1990s, several
local municipalities began to allocate resources to the provision
of localized patrol services in public places [75]. In Belgium, the
Incivility Act (1999) broadened public order competences of


making municipalities accountable, nourished pluralization of
former police functions [76]. The regulatory environment of
policing continues to be highly disjointed and segmented [5,43].
We call these societal re-arrangements ‘triggers’ towards
plural policing tendencies, where interactive arrangements pop
up in which public as well as private actors participate trying
to solve societal problems, creating societal opportunities, and
attending to the institutions within which these governing
activities take place. Not only securitization processes trigger
the emergence of other security providers, but changes in police
systems can do as well. This is the subject of out next paragraph.
National European police systems in motion
The empirical reality of pluralization within a country
is indisputable interconnected with the organization of the
national police system, the political agenda setting and many
other tendencies. It is obvious that representatives of public
institutions, such as police leaders, unionists, politicians, policy-
makers, and public administrators continue to play key roles in
shaping the ways in which policing is provided as well as regulated
[25]. Dynamics in police reforms are crucial context factors in
pluralization movements. Greene [77] uses the metaphor of
the sea in grasping the reality of policing developments. ‘Like
the sea’, he writes, ‘the many levels and interdependencies of
policing give it depth, breadth and animation’ [77]. He describes
the ‘voyage on the sea of ideas on policing, seeking to link macro,
meso and micro perspectives of policing such that they can

society’ [77]. Indeed, the policing reality is tied to broader
political, economic, legal, cultural and technological changes that
are unfolding at local and nation-state levels [78,79]. Nowadays
different European countries changed the architecture of their
national police system. The analysis of different police systems
in Europe, led to a theoretical framework for classifying national
police systems, which will be of use to understand underlying
pluralization forces. In their ten years research (2005-2015)
Ponsaers and Devroe [80,81] focused upon those agencies of

more precisely those competences which are linked to the use of
the monopoly of legal and legitimate violence. Notwithstanding
the reality of international and European agencies directed
towards police cooperation (e.g. Interpol, Europol, Frontex, etc.),
        
boundaries. This is precisely the reason why the notion ‘national
police system’ was used in this research. The research lead to
the development of a theoretical framework that can be of help
in understanding plural policing tendencies in Europe. The
model distinguishes police forces (police services) from police
        
developed theoretical model of police-typology. We now explain
each type of police system, namely what Ponsaers and Devroe
[80,81] call the
a. Territorial Divided Police Systems.
b. The Historical Diverse Police Systems.
 
  
for scholars to classify police systems from their own country
of interest.
The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium? Copyright:
©2015 Devroe 4/9
Citation: Devroe E (2015) The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium?. Forensic Res Criminol Int J 1(4): 00023. DOI:
10.15406/frcij.2015.01.00023
Table 1 : Typology of National Police Systems.
One Force Different Forces
One Type of Police  Territorial Divided
Police System
Different types of
Police
Historical Diverse
Police System
Territorial divided police systems
From a conceptual point of view it is not common that one
force includes different types of police. Within one (national)
police system, hierarchical lines between different forces can be
integrated, or can function autonomously. In spite of the fact that
one police system includes different forces, it is also possible
that all these forces have the same design and format. Mostly this
is the case in police systems that are based on territorial (local
or supra-local) division of labour. In this kind of police systems,
each force is constituted with the same type of police. In other
         
training, date-bases, control agencies, etc., but have different
hierarchical leadership. Therefore the authors frame these
type the ‘Territorial Divided Police Systems’. The Belgian police
system for example, as well as the United Kingdom and Germany,
are territorial divided systems.
Historical diverse police systems
A police force executes a variety of police functions at the
same time. A force that executes a broad range of these police
functions has integrated competences, or better is general
of nature. Nevertheless, a force can also have specialized

police force, or a gendarmerie, which is a military unit specialised
in maintenance of public order. In complex police systems, police
       
forces are considered as national or federal forces, others are
limited to a provincial or a regional level, or even to a municipal
level. From this point of view, police forces within one police
system can have different geographical competences. Some
forces have national competences, others have limited territorial
competences. Often a police system is characterized by a tension
between central and local decision making authorities (power
structures). Different police forces within one police system
can have different training and educational programmes, salary
scales and grades, they can have different controlling bodies,
or different data bases, different regulations, different labour
unions, etc. In other words: different police forces can represent
different types of police. In most cases, this patch-work format
of a police system is the result of long historical developments.
Therefore we call these ‘Historical Diverse Police Systems’.
Sometimes this kind of police systems contain autonomous
‘functional police’ forces.
Unified police systems
In certain police systems, we observe only one police force.
Mostly these kind of police systems are the result of reform
       
system is identical to the force and called ‘National Police’ or
‘Federal Police’. Conclusive we determined a huge diversity
in the evolution of police systems in different countries. Some
countries, like some Scandinavian countries, Scotland and
        
mention ‘pluralization’ although the entire police function is in
the hands of the state police. In other countries the historical
evolution led to hybrid, fragmented police systems, and overlap
of police functions on a given territory. It would be interesting
to allocate pluralization situations in different countries within
the theoretical framework presented in table1 to detect parallel
or diverging dynamics in the organisation of the regular police
apparatus. Although this exercise is not the scoop of this article,
we strongly believe that both currents are interconnected. The
next section, being the presentation of the empirical results,
focuses on the Belgian situation of policing.
Belgian Security Policing Arrangements
The Belgian police apparatus
The so-called ‘Octopus Agreement4 ‘dated 23 May 1998 gave
rise to the ‘Integrated Police Force on Two Levels Act5’ (WGP)
of 7 December 1998 [82]. Since the introduction of the Police
Reform Act , Belgium has two types of police: A local police
force and a federal police force6, together: the integrated police.
Approximately 47,000 men and women are employed by the
police7 . Of that, approximately 39,000 are operation police

police powers who mainly work in administrative and logistic
support functions (the so-called Calog personnel). Though these
two levels are dependent on different authorities, there are,
within the framework of integrated community policing [83],
functional links between the two police levels’ that are provided
for by law, but no hierarchical [76].
The Police Act (1998) lays down the functional connections
between these two levels. Responsibilities for operational,
integrated community policing lies at the feet of the ministers
of Home Affairs and Justice. Moreover, there are two advisory
bodies (federal police council and the local mayors police
council) and an advisory commission (permanent commission
of local police, where all police chiefs are represented by 16 of
their number who have been elected), who must also contribute
towards the coordination and cohesion of the divided system.
      
         
1/3rd by the federal police. This means that the Mayor, who’s
autonomy is subscribed in the Constitution, has an independent
political position disposing of an administrative (local)
police force to guarantee security on the territory. After the
transformation of the national state in 1988, Belgium (with 589
municipalities) became divided into the Flemish/Dutch, German
and French speaking community councils and the regional
4Referring to the 8 different political parties that agreed in consensus on
the police reform, after Dutroux, the child molester, escaped from prison
in 1996.
5Law of December 7th 1998 on the integrated police on two levels, B.S.
January 5th 1999 (Wet van 07 December 1998 op de geïntegreerdepolitie
op tweeniveaus).
6Before the police reform in 1998, the ‘municipal’ police, after the reform:
the local (zonal) police (municipal police and brigades of the gendar-
merie).
7Morphology of the police forces, CGL, www.infozone.be last consulted on
13 July 2012.
Citation: Devroe E (2015) The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium?. Forensic Res Criminol Int J 1(4): 00023. DOI:
10.15406/frcij.2015.01.00023
The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium? Copyright:
©2015 Devroe 5/9
governments of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-Capital. Each
of these regional authorities developed different approaches to
urban security, and have to be accounting to the security policy
of the Minister of Interior and of Justice [76]. Whilst Federal
and Regional authorities retain responsibility for formulating
policy responses on security issues, policy implementation is the
responsibility of the municipal authorities. Regional authorities
‘steer’ social policy responses (policy formulation, e.g. agenda
setting, allocation of resources, etc.,) to quality of life issues,
Federal authorities steer law enforcement and the maintenance
of public order, whilst municipal authorities are obliged to ‘row’
both criminal justice and social policy approaches. The need on

local police force, is obvious [84]8 . This article focuses on recent
evolutions, important to the subject of this article.
The private sector
As mentioned before, pluralization is often associated with
privatisation. International trends show in some countries a
bigger private security employment than employment by the
public police. In many countries the private security sector keeps
on growing [69,70]. Apparently, this is not the case in Belgium,
as illustrated in Figure 1. This Figure provides an overview of the

the presence of a private security guard.
 
266 inhabitants, illustrating an average presence of public
policing comparing to other EU countries. One private security
         
policing), a ratio still being very modest [85,86]9 . In the UK
the ratio in favour of the private sector is much higher, having
the disposition of one private guard available for (only) 170
inhabitants. European countries with the highest private
capacity (ratio to inhabitants) are Bulgary, Servia, Hungary,
Poland and Romania (former Eastern European countries) and
Letland. While Bulgary, Servia, Letland, Hungary and Poland
show a strong presence of public policing as well, in Romenia
         
demonstrating the least public police capacity. Romenia
illustrates a vast divergence in private (strong representation)
and public (very limited) capacity per inhabitants. When we

of action) in Belgium, only limited competences are granted to
them by Law10 . Surveillance in public space is only permitted for
goods, surveillance on citizens being reserved to public agents.
Private guards can report sacks being left in the streets, damage
to plants in public parks, covered street numbers or street signs,

offences to the police, like any other citizen. They mostly perform
parking ticket control (outsourced to them by municipalities),
VIP guardianship and guardianship in and around privately
8For a more extensive analysis of the Belgian police reform, see Devroe
and Ponsaers, 2013
9
-
culated 220 licensed private surveillance companies and 15411 private

10
surveillance services, B.S. April
owned buildings, like shopping malls and banks. They have
no more tools of coercion than any other citizen. An immense
ideological-based resistance –particular in the Walloon part of
the country [76] prevented privatisation growth. In Belgium
most outsourcing is enquired by the private sector itself, with
a very limited part being outsourced by the public sector or by
the Mayor [87]. This is due to the limited competences foreseen
in the Acts and the restricted labour offer. Conclusive we state

trends. Outsourcing [3] to the private sector-is rather scarce in
Belgium.
Figure 1: European Comparison: Number (N) of Inhabitants Per

External Security Arrangements in Public Space
This paragraph analysis the actual organisation of security
provision by actors and agencies, external to the police force.
Only in two particular domains police functions are outsourced,
  
well the position of these external actors is illustrated, as their
relationship to the regular police, clarifying the regular police
achievement of ‘eating up’ most of the external dispositive.
Figure 2: Flows of Actors and Agencies Providing Security in Rela-
tion to the Police.
The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium? Copyright:
©2015 Devroe 6/9
Citation: Devroe E (2015) The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium?. Forensic Res Criminol Int J 1(4): 00023. DOI:
10.15406/frcij.2015.01.00023
We now elaborate on Figure 2. Already before the police
reform of 1998, a lot of municipalities disposed of prevention
        
         
        
incorporated within the local police forces and an extension of
       
low educated jobless people, was to a large extent inspired by
the employment policy of the federal government. In 1994 the
Ministry negotiated contracts with 29 municipalities [88].
From 1996 on, a major investment was done, adding ‘city
wardens’ and ‘park watchers’ to this contracts. The name
changed to ‘Security and society contract’ stressing the societal
‘social cohesion’ aspect of these kind of prevention. The Minister
of Home Affairs admonished Mayors to take these wardens
   
municipal budgets. This meant the installation of independent
municipal services, autonomous from the local forces. Figure 2

municipal administration.
It was in this context that municipalities engaged a relatively
important amount (+/-1,500) of non-police public wardens, e.g.
stewards, parking lot coaches, city coaches, football coaches,
park guards, parking lot guards, etc. With Bourdieu [89] we can
   11     
domains became policed autonomously from the police in the
broader societal context of social cohesion projects steered by
the Mayor. After this ‘insourcing’ trend within the municipality,
the variety (nomination, badge, uniform, competences, tasks)
grew enormously, leaving the citizen with a dispersed, locally
organised assembling of all kinds of personnel operating in
public space. It is important to mention here that none of
      
of the proliferation of these different municipal services, with
different guidelines, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided
         
service, the so-called ‘Community Guards12 . ‘The connection
between the ‘politics of behaviour’ trend of tackling incivilities
   
social behaviour in public space, becomes clear at this point.
      
competences to report certain forms of social disorder to the

administrative basis [1]. In the French-speaking part of the
country, these guards are called ‘wardens of peace 13. A similar
trajectory was completed by the so-called ‘Auxiliary Agents’,
which were introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs as
assistant personal within the municipalities, like an autonomous
        
parking lots in public space. In 2006 these ‘Auxiliary Agents’
(+/- 1,500) were integrated in the local police forces, leaving the
11

-


autonomous’ from the broader police organization.
12Act May, 15th 2009 on ‘Community guards’ and Community guard-re-
corders’, B.S. June, 12th 2009.
13Act on the community guards in Wallonia, 14 février 2008.
Mayor without staff to control parking behaviour. When being
integrated in the police force, the competences of these ‘auxiliary
agents’ were enlarged, broadening regular police power. As a
consequence of this loss, most municipalities outsourced the

In 2006 another mechanism was introduced. The military
force had to economize and the federal government decided
to offer the opportunity to certain categories of the military
personnel to make a career shift to the local police in the
framework of the employment policy. This opportunity was
repeated several times during the last decennium. In sum a
number of +/- 1,500 soldiers joined in this context the local
police .Furthermore, the police reform of 1998 initiated the
possibility to engage civil personnel (Calog) within the force.
Including civilians into the police system is an insourcing
condition as well. Today most local forces, but also the federal
police, dispose of highly educated civil personnel in an important
number of functions (criminal analysts, strategic advisors, staff-
     
etc.). This could refer to the concept of ‘the police extended
family’, operational in the UK.
Conclusive we state that the police’s response to the
governmental pluralization incentives was one of becoming a
‘gormandising’ actor themselves. The expansions presented
in Figure 2, consuming former external services, can be called
currents of ‘insourcing’ or the commencement of performing

made to maintain control of critical production or competencies.
This kind of insourcing or ‘reverse’ contracting requires,
according to Warner & Hefetz [74] government capacity to
re-internalize service delivery should the contract fail to
adequately control costs, preserve quality, or address broader
community goals. In Belgium, it was not ‘contract failure’ that
lead to gormandising trends, but political ideologies from the
Minister of Interior, granting the police their demands of self-
protection and thus broadening their powers as ‘leaders’ in the

Conclusion
In this article we provided an expansive overview of literature
on plural policing and post modern tendencies towards
securization and privatisation. For a better understanding
of plural policing trends we additionally elaborated on some
results of a ten years comparative research on police systems in
Europe. In a second section we presented –based on a case study
with triangulation of methods- the Belgian Security Policing
Arrangements, and elaborated as well on public as on private
policing. We conclude this article with a strong statement:
the Belgian police demonstrates cannibalistic characteristics.
Devouring former externally organized public agents as well
as agencies (army), they achieved an exclusive market position
in selling and protecting security. Together with the ideological
options the Belgian government takes not to engage private
security in control and surveillance of disorder in the public
domain, the regular police remains for the moment the sole
provider of security. Under the cloak of ‘partnership’ with other
agencies partners can be ‘insourced’ to work in the force (for
        
Citation: Devroe E (2015) The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium?. Forensic Res Criminol Int J 1(4): 00023. DOI:
10.15406/frcij.2015.01.00023
The Power of The Locality: Does Plural Policing Really Exist in Belgium? Copyright:
©2015 Devroe 7/9
‘private-public collaboration’ (for ex. collaboration with banks
and insurance companies). In training tasks, police wants
       
resources into the force. As long as scholars are approached in
        
perceived collaborative model is doomed to fail [90]. Other,
more reciprocal models of cooperation, where external partners
are treated as independent experts instead of ‘police property’
[91,92] are needed and necessary. In order to strengthen
powers in important security domains (like organised crime),
the Belgian police seeks increasingly to reject basic community
services and administrative tasks. The fact that dynamics of

powerful attempts of the private sector to incorporate public
policing tasks, is often neglected. Once public police functions

recuperate these back into the regular police.
The actual organizational police dynamic in Belgium is
oriented towards a reinforcement of the own organization. These
police dynamics of ‘territorial battles’ are hardly weakened by
political forces. On the contrary, the government subscribed to
         
that the minister of Home Affairs will always need - in times
of crisis, mass manifestations and riots- a smooth functioning
strong police body in order to keep the peace. Besides that these
gormandizing police attitude favours other societal political
goals like promoting employment for non-educated jobless
        
         
      
        
Viewed from a distance, this creates images of an ‘organization

Characterizing this ‘animated moving Octopus’ by limiting the
view to pluralization trends is not adequate, and it creates the
image of an imploding undivided whole in favour of divers internal
and external parts. Many police Acts mention ‘cooperation’ but
in practice this means ‘police taking the lead’. After discussion
within a governmental working group, the Belgian police
presented their future concept in 2014. The bill ‘vision for the
police 202514 ’ goes under the promising title ‘networking
police’ and intends to shift from an information position based
on ‘power’ to a model of ‘collaborative intelligence’ [93].
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