||Police training, politieonderwijsbeleid, politiescholen, police colleges, police education policy, politieopleiding, higher police education, hoger politieonderwijs, police education
20 years of police education policy in Belgium: What can we learn from the past?
This article gives a brief overview of the police education policy in Belgium since 1998. The article gives a chronological overview of the most important initiatives and occurrences related to police education policy. Our rather descriptive overview is for the most part based on findings and recommendations from external control and oversight bodies, the professional literature, and seminars, mostly organized by the Centre of Policing and Security. It becomes clear that the police training and education department of the Belgian federal police, as umbrella organization of the Belgian police education system, paid mainly attention to the creation of legislation regulating police education as a subdivision of human resource policy. This leaded towards a very rigid judicial steering of the police education landscape with a lack of attention towards pedagogical objectives. The most eminent aspects of this judicial framework are program modifications, quality control, and evaluation and examination regulations. Reflecting on this policy we ascertain a strong fragmentation of the police education structure, an absence of cooperation with the higher education organizations like colleges and universities, an unclear quality control system and a systematically underfinancing of the police education. We hold these findings up to the light of recent scientific insights on higher police education, a trend that seems to arise within the European police education systems. It is observed that despite the repeated reforms and criticisms, little quality improvement can be demonstrated in police training and education. On the contrary, the gap between the higher education and police education is getting larger. The train to Bologna seems to pass in silence.