Discretionary powers and the practice of police stops

  • De Kimpe, S. (Contributor)
  • Jenneke Christiaens (Contributor)
  • Inès Saudelli (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


Identity checks are one of the most practised police powers worldwide. Within the police great importance is attached to this practice when it comes to crime detection and enforcement. However, international research has already shown several times that identity checks generate a lot of controversy. Especially the decision to stop a person seems to cause public uproar. Police officers would be led by prejudices causing the decisions to possibly be made on discriminatory grounds and citizens to be treated unequally. In various countries, such as the UK and the US, these observations led to riots which compromised police legitimacy. So far, little research into identity checks has been carried out in Belgium. Therefore, we do not know if the above also counts for our country, even though some human rights organisations have already accused the Belgian police of ethnic profiling and discrimination. With this research we wish to gain insight in the practice of identity checks performed by the Belgian police. Data will be collected through an ethnographic study with local police forces. The research will last four years and will be completed in December 2020.
Period17 Sep 2019
Event titleStreet-level policing in a smart society. ESC Pre-conference: Conference in cooperation with the Working group on Policing of the European Society of Criminology ESC and the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)
Event typeConference
LocationGent, Belgium
Degree of RecognitionInternational