Luxembourgh Times

Hundreds apply for police jobs after security spat

Internal Security Minister Henri Kox pledged to ramp up the force after Luxembourg City Mayor hired a private security firm

Police officer in the Gare area

Police officer in the Gare area © Photo credit: Gerry Huberty

Source: Bloomberg

By Laura Bannier and Yannick Hansen

More than 700 candidates applied for just 200 jobs in the police for next year, a first sign that Internal Security Minister Henri Kox is making good on his promise to put more boots on the ground in Luxembourg City's Gare area after the city council had hired a private security firm to patrol the streets.

The new recruits will not be ready for full deployment immediately but will have to finish a two-year course in the police academy first, which is scheduled to start in May 2022.

In October, Kox pledged to hire 1,000 new officers by 2026, bowing to pressure from the public and the City Council after the situation in Luxembourg's Gare area - known for drug trafficking, squatters, prostitution and petty theft - deteriorated. An appeal from angry locals had prompted the City to hire a private security firm to patrol the streets of the capital, but the contract with the firm lapsed on 15 November.

The spat between Kox and City mayor, Lydie Polfer, reached a climax when a guard dog belonging to one of the private security firms reportedly shook off its muzzle and bit a member of the public earlier this year.

An investigation into that incident is underway but police have not yet filed all the relevant documents with the public prosecutor’s office, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor told the Luxembourg Times.

Four-fifths of people polled in the Gare district said they wanted more action to improve security, a survey published in February found, while more than two-thirds said that the presence of private security agents made them feel safer.