Last time you had a drink on a terrace in Flagey, have you noticed that a new type of cops was going around? Since July 1, six policemen have moved their office on… bike. But what’s the point of all of that?
The six bikers (women and men) have officially been assigned to the central police station (rue du Collège). They have been hired for the same purpose and tasks of the “normal” policemen who are driving around Brussels. They are, however, much more involved in fighting against incivilities in town and minor penal offences.
If they are dealing with the same, common issues, why has the Ixelles city office decided to set up such an original patrol? If you thought about a new and eco-friendly approach, you are close, but not 100% correct. Yes, policemen on bike are definitively more eco-freindly than the usual ones, but this new option has been implemented because bike-cops can be more efficient. On short distances, they are indeed much faster and they can be quickly operational to fulfill their function.
The project has also raised the idea that these policemen could be closer to the Ixellois than the policemen who go around by car. If you meet with someone on bike, you are indeed more likely to talk with, or at least to identify this person. And the local authorities are convinced that this will make them more efficient and reactive than the “traditional policemen”.
Ixelles’ authorities have decided to expand the team soon. They will double the number of on-bike policemen by 2018, employing 12 people. “Our priority is to reinforce the staff on the ground”, Dominique Dufournouy, the bourgmestre of Ixelles said. The bike cops “will enable to improve the dialogue with the citizens”, she added.
Although the initiative has only been implemented few months ago in Ixelles, this is not a revolutionary project: bike cops have already been riding around Brussels for months. Nonetheless, we appreciate the improvements and implementations the city is adopting, becoming more safe and keeping an everyday contact with its citizens.