Home Dutch News Benelux police may uses weapons across borders

Benelux police may uses weapons across borders

Published on 08/06/2004

8 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — Benelux police will in future be allowed to pursue suspects across national borders between the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The agreement also allows them to use their weapons and arrest suspects.
The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg reached an agreement in Luxembourg on Tuesday governing police co-operation in the Benelux region. The deal is expected to come into force after the summer when all three national Parliaments have backed the move.

Besides being able to pursue and shoot at suspects, police will also conduct an increased number of joint operations, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported. Joint police offices will also be established to assist in information exchange.

Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael said the Benelux nations were creating a joint police sector. He also said the treaty goes further in a fundamental way than previous police agreements, Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported.

Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said the deal also allows Belgian police to arrest illegal immigrants on Dutch soil if they are trying to flee Belgium. She said the move will assist in the fight against illegal immigration.

Verdonk signed the deal on behalf of the Netherlands, together with Interior Minister Johan Remkes and Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner.

Meanwhile, the treaty also spells out that in cases of national disasters, riots or demonstrations, each of the three Benelux nations will be able to call in a foreign police force for assistance.

Police will also obtain access to car registration details in all three countries to accelerate the apprehension of law breakers.

A major difference with existing regulations — set out in the Schengen Treaty — is that the agreement applies to the entirety of the Benelux region and time restrictions have been scrapped.

In the past, police officers could only follow suspects for 10km over the border and were only allowed to carry a weapon for 45 minutes in a neighbouring country. The new treaty removes these restrictions.

Furthermore, police will no longer have to report to authorities in the other country advising them they wish to operate across the border. In future, police will only need to report to foreign police authorities once a patrol crosses the border.

The Luxembourg Justice Minister, Luc Frieden, explained that authorities had decided to end the situation in which the public could freely cross the border, but where police were forced to stop their operations.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news