According to an internal police memo on Monday in the northern Brussels police district (Schaerbeek, Evere, Saint-Josse), viewed by Belga, the national news agency in Belgium, OCAM (the coordinating unit for terror threat analysis), “There is currently a possible and likely terror threat in the same style as the Paris attacks”.
Specifically, the memo stated potential targets include “Brussels Grand-Place, Brussels Central Police Station (Rue Marché au Charbon), soldiers (specifically those in uniform on public streets) and the uniformed police in greater Brussels.”
This new evaluation by the coordinating unit which specifies both the places and people as new potential attack targets has justified its decision to raise the alert level to 3 for “police and soldiers” on duty within greater Brussels, as well as for police stations, the Central station on Rue Marché au Charbon in particular”, states the memo.
This increased level of alert has immediate effect and will last until January 4th, whereas the rest of Belgium has already been at this terror threat level (3) for some weeks.
Further specific measures flowing from this for police stations “in accordance with the directive made by la DG Centre de Crise (responsible for receiving and sending out intelligence to public authorities)” which followed OCAM’s new evaluation are listed in the memo.” It is a question of immediate “adaptation” of the specific measures for police and military security within the Brussels-Capital region, states the DG website.
According to the internal memo, it was specifically decided that police officers will always go out accompanied by an armed colleague (or alone, in plain clothes and armed in the case of neighbourhood police officers) and also that operational staff must keep their service firearm whilst travelling between work and home (after a request from the chief of police). A Quick Response Team will be permanently available to help patrols on the ground, whilst remaining available for the whole of greater Brussels “in case of a terrorist threat or attack.” Travel whilst on duty will be limited and non-urgent or non-priority control missions no longer be carried out. Police units which are not equipped with double-entrance security door will be compulsorily locked.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)