24 train attendants are threatened or attacked in Belgium every week
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    24 train attendants are threatened or attacked in Belgium every week

    Every week, an average of 24 train attendants were attacked or threatened in 2019, an increase of 7% compared to the year before. Credit: Belga

    Every week, an average of 24 train attendants were attacked or threatened last year, an increase of 7% compared to the year before.

    Last year, 1,250 incidents of attacks or threats against an NMBS/SNCB train attendant were registered. In 801 of those cases, the attendant was threatened or insulted, and in 449 incidents it came to physical violence. Compared to ten years ago, that is an increase of 60%.

    In 2018, the Belgian train company launched an anti-aggression campaign, after the number of incidents had been on the rise again since 2017, after they had dropped by about 33% in the years before, according to SNCB.

    “We have taken several measures in recent years,” said Bart Crols, the SNCB spokesperson, who added that the company is taking this very seriously, reports Het Laatste Nieuws. “Think of the administrative fines that our train attendants are now allowed to give,” he added.

    “The big problem is the shortage of employees, both among safety personnel and train supervisors,” said Joachim Permentier of the independent railway association OVS. “We know the lines that give the most trouble, and often even the troublemakers, but because of the shortage of personnel, it is simply not possible to intervene in time,” he added.

    “Just as football hooligans can be banned from stadiums, train hooligans should also be banned from using the train,” said MP Tomas Roggeman.

    A draft law allowing courts to impose this measure was adopted in 2004, but it has never been adopted to date.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times