Drugs in Antwerp: Extra staff needed for port security

Drugs in Antwerp: Extra staff needed for port security
Credit: Belga

To adequately fight drug trafficking in the Antwerp port area, it is “crucial to attract extra staff,” Antwerp’s alderman for port affairs, Annick De Ridder (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, N-VA), said on Wednesday at the presentation of the port infrastructure’s annual results.

“Since the management of the port is a federal responsibility, our scope for action is limited,” she said, “but it is crucial for extra staff to be provided.”

She described the ‘Stroomplan,’ an action plan against drug-related crime in Antwerp, as a first step in the right direction. However, customs and the public prosecutor’s office still lack resources. “They work with what they have, but it is not enough,” De Ridder said. “The situation is similar to the security problems of 2016.”

Meanwhile, a plea by De Ridder and N-VA chairman Bart De Wever – who is also Antwerp’s mayor – seems to be falling by the wayside at the federal level: the organisation of a National Security Council and a possible intervention by the army are not yet on the agenda, according to Minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS).

The Antwerp mayor will be in New York next week to discuss port security. On 17 February, the port will also be organising a full day on the issue of security with all stakeholders.

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