“We want to create a municipal police force, which will be placed under the authority of the burgomaster or the municipal council.” On 1 March, when the CSV list for the Luxembourg elections on 11 June was unveiled, Serge Wilmes (CSV), head of list in the capital, put forward one of the most talked-about proposals of the election campaign. It’s not a new proposal, however, having already been put forward in June 2022.
“It’s the fruit of internal reflection within our party, which came from local elected representatives, from the grassroots. And it is now in the framework programme for the local elections, but also in the programme for the legislative elections in October,” he explained.
If we emerge from the polls stronger, both at city level in June and at national level in October, we want to have partners who will support us in developing this municipal police force.
“It’s not a miracle solution to every problem,” he continued. “But it is a project that can give the municipalities the means to carry out their public order missions on their territory. This is something that the municipality of Luxembourg City is crying out for.”
Lydie Polfer has been listened to
“We have 133,000 inhabitants, but we don’t have our own resources to enforce our police regulations. We are asking for more police presence. Not just in terms of interventions. We also need more outreach and prevention work. After all, the figures show a 20% increase in criminal cases between 2021 and 2022 in the capital…,” added Wilmes, who is on the same page on this issue as his coalition partner in the city council, mayor Lydie Polfer (DP). Earlier this week, during the presentation of the DP’s programme, Polfer stated that “her party, even at national level, is committed to creating this municipal police force.”
It’s a little phrase that made Wilmes smile. “It’s good that the DP now shares our vision of things. Because for a long time, they didn’t seem to listen to Mrs Polfer. In ten years in government, the DP hasn’t done much to change things…”
For the CSV, safety is an “absolute priority” in view of the forthcoming double election. “And if we emerge from the ballot box stronger, both at city level in June and at national level in October, we want to have partners who will support us in developing this municipal police force, which is also a priority,” added the CSV member of parliament.
In this respect, it should be noted that the DP’s two current partners in the majority--the LSAP and déi Gréng--have declared their opposition to the creation of such a body.
My party, even at national level, is committed to creating this municipal police force.
Gabriel Boisante (LSAP), co-head of the LSAP list in the city, is calling for “greater consultation between the local authorities and the grand ducal police,” while wondering “whether the creation of a municipal police force might not be a danger to democracy and community life. Is there not a risk that this police force will be politicised when it is absolutely not intended to be?”
In a recent interview with Delano’s sister publication Paperjam, François Benoy (déi Gréng), co-head of the Gréng list in Luxembourg, explained: “The proposal for a municipal police force is not honest. How can we organise this when we already don’t have enough police officers in the country? And above all, the legislative process to set it up will take years.”
A body integrated into the grand ducal police force
Wilmes replied: “The fact that the process is likely to take a long time is no reason to do nothing! Standing still is not the answer. As for the manpower of this future municipal body, it already exists since the grand ducal police force already allocates manpower to the territory of the city of Luxembourg. What we want is for them to be placed under the authority of the city of Luxembourg.”
The legislative process to set up this municipal police force will take years.
The CSV’s idea is therefore not to create a second corps separate from that of the grand ducal police, which existed until the dissolution of the grand ducal gendarmerie in 1999.
“Instead, we are proposing to create a unit within the existing grand ducal police force that would be assigned to municipalities where there are problems. At the same time, it would eliminate the need for private security guards in the capital.”
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.