‘Tit for tat’: Belgium promises tougher punishments for violence against police
Share article:
Share article:

‘Tit for tat’: Belgium promises tougher punishments for violence against police

Credit: Belga

Following an attack on police officers in Brussels, Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne announced that anyone who is now convicted of violence against the police will be punished effectively.

On Monday morning, five police officers were attacked with a car jack during a traffic check in the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, resulting in police unions again sounding the alarm on violence against officers.

“If the police ask for a ‘tit-for-tat policy’ and ask for punishments to be carried out, then we will do that,” Van Quickenborne said on Tuesday evening on VRT’s television programme ‘De Afspraak.’

He added that six weeks after the new government took office, a communication had already been sent to all public prosecutors in the country, obliging them to no longer dismiss such cases under any circumstances but to prosecute culprits effectively.

Van Quickenborne cited the case of a 20-year-old man who made headlines in Flanders for headbutting a police officer in Ghent on Tuesday. The man was called to summary proceedings and will appear in court on 14 October.

In theory, he faces up to one year in prison but in practice, sentences of fewer than three years are not carried out in Belgium. “He will not have to spend a day in jail,” Van Quickenborne lamented, adding that he understands the police unions in this respect.

Related News:

 

“Once a case is brought to court and a person is convicted, the sentence must also be carried out,” he said, stressing that “from 1 December, [the government] will enforce all sentences, including short prison sentences.”

“I cannot promise that a zero-tolerance policy will end violence against police in this country,” Van Quickenborne said.

“However, I can promise that zero-tolerance will punish people effectively,” he stressed, adding that the Justice Department plans to do this even while prisons are overcrowded.

Detention houses

To accommodate the potential influx of prisoners, the Government plans to open 15 detention houses during this term of office, with the first two still opening this year.

Van Quickenborne described detention houses: “Those convicted of such offences will be housed in a detention house and not in traditional prisons, where they are supervised from day one.”

“The intention is that those people are punished, but we must also ensure that perpetrators see the error of their ways and do not come out of prison any worse than when they went in,” he added.

In the meantime, the Brussels’ public prosecutor confirmed on Wednesday that the man who assaulted the five police officers in Molenbeek on Monday will serve no jail time, but will instead be placed under electronic surveillance with an ankle bracelet.

The man – identified as Karim K. – is being charged with assault and battery with work incapacity towards police officers, unarmed resistance and making threats.

Three of the police officers were taken to hospital with substantial injuries but were discharged after treatment; the two others were only slightly injured. However, all five policemen are considered temporarily unable to work.

“The investigation into the events is now continuing,” said the Brussels public prosecutor, adding that this will include analysing the images from surveillance cameras in the area.

Karim K. meanwhile will appear before the Brussels chambers within five days, where it will be decided whether or not to place him under house arrest.

Latest news

England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...
Brussels bars linked to alleged sexual assault vouch to improve women’s safety
The management of the two bars in Ixelles, which made headlines in recent days after several young women reported that they had been drugged then ...
European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...