Police-population relations: interview with Yvan Mayeur, Mayor of Brussels

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In an interview with Efus, the Mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, explains why his city took part in the IMPPULSE project and how it will benefit residents.

On 16-17 November, the city of Brussels will host the final conference of the IMPPULSE project on the improvement of police-population relations. What led the city to take part in this project?

Yvan MayeurYvan Mayeur : By taking part in the IMPPULSE project, the city and its police had an opportunity to be part of a European pilot project that offered a unique opportunity to gain knowledge on interesting initiatives led in neighbouring countries, and to be inspired by those that are transferable here. In addition, the nature of this project created a new dynamic, which brought about two new initiatives that will soon be implemented in the Brussels-Capital police zone.

More importantly, the theme of IMPPULSE – improving police-population relations – is perfectly in line with our vision of community policing and how it must respond to the expectations of the population and foster mutual respect.

“Working as a network enabled us to conduct a global reflection on the crucial theme of police-population relations and to exchange good policing practices that can directly benefit the population.”

What do you expect from this conference?

We will gain knowledge on each of the projects that were conceived, developed and implemented by our partners and our own projects will gain a European-wide visibility. Working as a network enabled us to conduct a global reflection on the crucial theme of police-population relations and to exchange good policing practices that can directly benefit the population.  

What initiatives did you take in your city to strengthen police-population relations?

Before IMPPULSE, we implemented training sessions to professionalise the quality of citizen care, as well as to improve the way suspects are dealt with and police response. One of the sessions for police officers of the Brussels-Capital Ixelles zones was focused on the respect of fundamental rights and diversity. It was created jointly with the Centre for Equal Opportunities (Centre pour l’égalité des chances).

As part of IMPPULSE, the City of Brussels and its police developed two innovative and creative projects. The first is a practical guide that includes about twenty typical situations that policemen can encounter when on patrol and suggestions on how to respond appropriately. The idea of this guidebook is to serve citizens more efficiently by increasing the knowledge of the police force.

The second project is called Dilemma Training. The aim is to improve the quality of the first contact between citizens and police officers. Through a series of video clips conceived by members of the staff of the Brussels-Capital Ixelles zone, in which they  also act, police officers can identify unacceptable behaviours, reflect on their cause and come up with positive alternatives that contribute to professional, practical and efficient policing.

In your view, what is the added value of networking at the European level in terms of urban security?

Cities are constantly and rapidly evolving in a complex environment. Networking allows for confronting ideas. It encourages open-mindedness and a different perspective on issues, with the aim of better understanding the priorities of society and as regards security. Through this inspired and well-structured European platform, we confronted our vision for better coexistence and service to the population.

Read more information about the Police-population conference on 16 & 17 November in Brussels.