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Police fired for drunkenness must be reinstated, says council
The Brussels police have been ordered by the Council of State to reinstate three officers who were fired in 2017 for drinking on the job. The officers were part of the Brussels-Ixelles police zone, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
The agents were drinking in uniform at the Black Horse in Schaerbeek – outside their own zone – with their squad car parked out front. All three had their weapons on them. Their behaviour concerned other customers in the bar, who called local police – from the North police zone.
According to witnesses, when those agents showed up, one of the inebriated officers tried to run out. The Schaerbeek police report states that the three were “noticeably drunk” and that one was “confused and unpredictable. His clothes were rumpled. He had a dry mouth, hiccups and couldn’t walk straight.”
Another “slurred and admitted that he had drunk a bit too much”, while the third was “somewhat aggressive with a glassy stare”. As the police tried to ask him a few questions, he lifted his glass to finish off his beer, and was stopped by one of the agents.
What didn’t take place was a breathalyser test. The Council of State said there was no hard evidence that the men were drunk and so the police had to give them back their jobs. According to police spokesperson Ilse Van de Keere, the three men, who are all over 50, have been assigned to desk work.
“This judgment feels like justice,” one of the officers told Het Nieuwsblad. “Management wanted to crucify us by labelling us as drunks. But we’re not drunks.” He went on to tell the paper that he and his two colleagues had an appointment in the bar with an informant and drank a beer together with him.
Photo: Dirk Waem/BELGA