Belgium targets dealers as anti-drugs squad launched
7 June 2005, BRUSSELS – A new anti-drugs squad is to hit the streets of Belgium, it was announced on Tuesday.
7 June 2005
BRUSSELS – A new anti-drugs squad is to hit the streets of Belgium, it was announced on Tuesday.
The squad is part of a government crackdown on the smuggling and dealing of illegal substances.
Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx and interior minister Patrick Dewael pledged around 10 federal and local police officers would work with a selected number of foreign officers to catch drug dealers.
The ministers stated that the Belgian police already cooperate extensively with their counterparts in the Netherlands, France and Luxembourg to track down individuals and groups carrying drugs from country to country.
In the future, the police would start to deal more closely with Spanish officers, too, promised the ministers. 'Seasonal dealers' trafficking drugs between Morocco and Belgium would be targeted.
The new drug squad will be freed from paperwork and basic administration duties to enable them to carry out more drug investigations in the field.
Onkelinx and Dewael have also decided to hold 'zero tolerance' campaigns in Liege, Mons, Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, the five largest cities most affected by drugs problems.
Those cities’ mayors will be invited to add their own initiatives to the crackdown.
Onkelinx explained the thinking behind the measures in a column for the Sudpresse newspapers. "Drug trafficking is extremely serious in Belgium," she said. "It creates unbearable crime, both petty and serious".
"There are whole areas in the grip of drugs, areas which have been abandoned. They are lawless places where there’s a total lack of safety."
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news