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Etterbeek police pick up homeless as temperatures drop

17:13 26/02/2018

The Brussels municipality Etterbeek sent police out this weekend to pick up homeless people to get them off the streets as temperatures dropped to below freezing. Etterbeek mayor arranged for police to go as far as to arrest homeless people who refused to accompany them.

“Homeless people who stay outside in these conditions risk hypothermia and can freeze to death,” said mayor Vincent De Wolf. As it turns out, police didn’t have to go as far as arresting the 10 people it ultimately picked up, taking them to a space to spend the night, arranged by the municipality.

Brussels-City mayor Philippe Close’s office said that they have not asked police to go as far as using force to take the homeless to shelters but that they do have social workers in the streets to try to convince them to go on their own. If this tactic doesn’t work, they call in the police.

“The social workers are the first contact,” said a Close spokesperson. “We support the decision of our Etterbeek colleague but don’t think we’ll need to take that step.”

Photo: Jonas Roosens/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw