Molenbeek shootings: Mayor asks Interior Minister for more police officers

Molenbeek shootings: Mayor asks Interior Minister for more police officers
Federal Minister of the Interior, Annelies Verlinden and Molenbeek Mayor, Catherine Moureaux. Credit: Belga.

Annelies Verlinden, the Minister of the Interior, has agreed to study, the Mayor of Molenbeek, Catherine Moureaux's request for police reinforcements in the Brussels municipality, Belga News Agency reports.

The two-hour meeting between both politicians on Thursday was largely devoted to finding solutions to the 6 shootings that have plagued the Brussels municipality since the start of 2022.

The Federal Minister pledged to do everything she could to increase the number of federal police officers, but also in Molenbeek.


Translation of tweet: "Meeting with Catherine Moureaux, Mayor of Molenbeek. We discussed how best to deal with violent crime with all actors involved. The police is an important partner in this, with who we aim to cooperate in the best possible way in a comprehensive approach."

Mayor of Molenbeek Catherine Moureaux (PS) has grown increasingly frustrated with the Federal Government for a perceived lack of assistance in combatting the rise of violence in her commune.

The mayor came to the meeting with three demands: an additional 20 police officers in her commune, a commitment to the continuation of the canal plan (which calls for the deployment of more police officers in more areas than just Molenbeek), and that Brussels be made a prioritised in the context of a €60 million federal budget allocation for improved security.

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Nonetheless, the mayor seemed satisfied by the meeting's outcome.

"I think the minister perceives the urgency of the situation", she remarked. "We were able to exchange our views without beating around the bush," Belga News Agency reported.


Translation of tweet: "I have just left Minister Verlinden's office. A useful and necessary meeting. I pleaded for a reinforcement of 20 police officers by the summer. The canal plan will be continued without any additional costs for the police zones. In terms of refinancing the police zones, I insisted that Brussels be a priority."

The meeting was on the same day that Luc Ysebaer, Chief of Police for the Brussels-West police zone, acknowledged that local police were actively combatting "an outbreak of violence with street dealers" in the Molenbeek municipality.

Neither politician offered solutions on how to combat poverty in the municipality, the second poorest in the whole country. High levels of poverty are often attributed as contributing factors to increased levels of crime and violence.

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