Internal security minister Henri Kox speaking during a press conference on 19 February
Photo: Matic Zorman
Luxembourg’s police force must grow, modernise, digitalise and be better equipped, internal security minister Henri Kox said during a press conference on Friday.
Kox was speaking amid squabbles with the SNPGL police union who say that people in Luxembourg are feeling increasingly unsafe and that crime is becoming worse.
There is much to do, Kox acknowledged, saying that the police had not been a priority for previous governments. “But it must be underlined that the police are only part of the solution,” he said.
The City of Luxembourg last year hired private security agents to patrol the area around the central train station, raising questions about the presence of police, or lack thereof.
Kox said more than 80 officers are currently assigned to the district, including plainclothes officers. They made around 20 arrests in the first weeks of the new year, he said.
A new pilot project also aims to reduce administrative burdens, with officers on patrol being able to hand over any suspects to their colleagues at the station and return to the streets more quickly. This should also help reduce overtime hours for police when they make an arrest shortly before the end of their shift.
A recruitment drive is ongoing, with 621 officers and another 240 civilian career employees to be hired by 2026. This will increase the size of the police force by 28%. It currently counts 2,450 staff.
The government is also investing in refurbishing police stations. “Some of them are in a disastrous condition,” Kox said. The stations in Ettelbruck, Mersch, Remich, Dudelange and Pétange are already under renovation. Esch-sur-Alzette, Differdange, Wiltz and Rédange will receive new stations in the years to come, the minister said.
To further improve working conditions, the police are receiving new digital tools, for example to easier plan and manage shifts and reporting, and to facilitate cooperation between different teams and services.
Kox in January visited the Gare and Bonnevoie districts together with the police, following from similar meetings last year. The minister said he was confident in the police force and its performance but insisted they cannot solely be held responsible for public safety. An inter-ministerial group is looking to tackle crime prevention and related issues as part of a more holistic approach, Kox said.
This article was first published in French on paperjam.lu and has been translated and edited for Delano.