The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Brussels police zones combined forces on New Year’s Eve

19:33 01/01/2020
From Flanders Today

The capital’s six police zones teamed up to ensure safety on New Year’s Eve, with one chief constable leading the forces of the different police zones.

The capital has six different police zones, which are each responsible for multiple communes. Although it’s not unusual for the capital’s police zones to collaborate during major events such as NATO summits and visits of US presidents or other heads of state, yesterday marked the first time the Brussels police combined forces to ensure safety on New Year’s Eve.

“This is clearly an activity that is playing out over the entire territory of the six zones and which we thus want to manage in its totality,” Olivier Slosse, spokesperson for the Brussels police, told VTM Nieuws. A central communication and coordination centre was put in place in which the other emergency services and federal police also participated. This allowed the different services to exchange information in real time.

Although the Brussels-Capital/Elsene police zone led the command, the different police zones remained responsible for events in their own territories.

The decision to have the police zones team up appears to have been made in response to complaints that police mismanaged the small riots that broke out on New Year’s Eve last year. Fire fighters were pelted with stones and firecrackers, several stores looted and parked cars vandalised in the communes of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek and Sint-Joost in 2019.

After the riots, several lawmakers called for the city’s police zones to be merged, arguing that one combined police force would have been able to respond to the disturbances more quickly and in a more coordinated fashion.

Compared to last year, the number of police officers at work on New Year’s Eve was doubled, said interior minister Pieter De Crem, with several hundreds of officers patrolling the streets of the capital. Unlike last year, fire workers also received police protection.

Photo: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Written by Linda A Thompson (Flanders Today)