Antwerp police swamped by drugs tips

24th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 August 2006, BRUSSELS — Antwerp police are being inundated with tips over drug dealers and are unable to process all of the information.

24 August 2006

BRUSSELS — Antwerp police are being inundated with tips over drug dealers and are unable to process all of the information.

Director of operations, Serge Muyters, said residents and action groups in Antwerp North and Borgerhout are seeing drug dealers all over their streets.

"Even children playing on the street who give something to each other are considered by some neighbourhood groups or individuals as dealers," he said.

Muyters does not have the impression that the drug problem in Antwerp is more or less visible than it was five years ago, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Thursday.

But the chief-superintendent said he cannot deploy his officers immediately if a tip about drug dealing is received.

"That costs an enormous amount of time and capacity," he said.

If police are given a tip about drug dealing, police patrols are put on alert and sent past the area where the alleged deal took place.

But if complaints persist, police ask residents if they can stage a stake-out surveillance operation from their house to observe the alleged drug premises.

After Antwerp police raided several drugs premises, the problem appeared to have dissipated. But residents groups claim the problem has resurfaced.

Police chief Muyters said if a drug dealer is arrested, his business is immediately taken over by another.

And while drug dealers are given tough sentences, users are not a priority for prosecution officials and that can be frustrating for people confronted with drug use in their own neighbourhood.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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