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Belgium

The law enforcement function is carried out by the Unified Police Service created in 2001. It consists of the Federal Police Service acting at a federal level and of the Local Police Service (which included 195 local police units situated in the local police zones). Both organizations are autonomous and function under the auspices of different state institutions, but factors like similar status, shared data base, logistical support system and human resources mechanisms play in favor of their professional rapprochement.

Countering corruption is the task of specialized services with their own remit, functions and responsibilities. When dealing with cases in which police officers are suspected of committing other crimes, they cooperate with specialized police units.This complex anti-corruption structure is the result of the application of the principle of institutional separation and mutual control in order to avoid attempts to shelter police officers from investigation on corruption charges.

Police officers corruption is investigated mainly by two independent services: the General Inspectorate (AIG), and the Permanent Committee “P”.

The General Inspectorate of the Federal and Local Policeis put under the authority of the ministers of justice and interior. It is the minister of interior who oversees its work on a daily basis. The General Inspectorate is independent of the police, acting under a statutory scheme specifically created for the recruitment and regulation of Inspectorate staff. The staff is appointed by royal decree. The appointment of the General Inspector is made jointly by a committee in which MoJ and MoI are presented. It has full investigative powers in both, criminal and disciplinary matters concerning federal and local police officers. The General Inspectorate also examines complaints from individuals and organizations, and notifies the relevant judicial authorities and Committee P.

Another key institution is the Permanent Committee “P”, which is a controlling body of the Belgian parliament. It monitors the work of the executive branch of government and especially the police and the counterintelligence (the so-called “Coordinating unit for threat analysis”). The remit of the Permanent Committee “P” includes investigating corruption crimes by organized groups, in addition to cases, when a criminal structure is involved. Investigations are carried out by the Investigative service of the Permanent Committee “P”.

Another specialized anticorruption unit is the Central Office for the Repression of the Corruption (called in French: “Office Central pour la Répression de la Corruption” - O.C.R.C.). It was establishged as full police investigation service in 1998. Since the fundamental reorganization of all Belgian police forces in 2001, The O.C.R.C. is a part of the Directorate for Economic and Financial Crime (ECOFIN) belonging to the Belgian Federal Judicial Police. The federal judicial police is placed under the authority of the Minister of Justice and the judicial authorities.

OCRC has national jurisdiction to investigate complex and serious crimes of corruption in the public service and the private sector, as well as other related offences like misappropriation of public funds, conflicts of interest and embezzlement committed by a person who holds a public office, offences committed in connection with public procurement contracts and public subsidies, authorizations, permits, licenses, public contracts. OCRC also investigates corruption cases concern European Community officials, as the major European institutions are located on the Belgian territory. These cases are investigated in close co-operation with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), which has its seat in Brussels.


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