The local Antwerp police will have a rapid armed response team from the 1st of September. It will be ready to act in case of incidents involving firearms, VRT reported on Tuesday. Its members will be given special training, so they will be more able to handle dangerous situations than traditional intervention units. They will also be able to react more rapidly than the Antwerp exceptional assistance team (Bijzonder Bijstand Team –BBT). A similar team has been in place in Brussels for a while, but it’s new for Antwerp. There is talk of three members of this specialised team being available at all times. They will have heavier weapons and different protective vests and helmets.
According to the port town’s mayor, Bart De Wever (New Flemish Alliance), this initiative stems from the terrorist attacks in Paris at the start of the year. The shooters had a Kalashnikov. Criminals are also using more and more heavy weapons.