‘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

Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...
Brussels café managers ask for security guards following stabbing over vaccination proof
Managers of cafes in Brussels are asking to be provided with security guards if they’re to continue enforcing rules surrounding proof of vaccination, ...
1.6 tonnes of drugs, 27 suspects: Belgian police bust major gang
The Belgian police and public prosecutor's office arrested 27 suspects and seized 1.6 tonnes of drugs, over €80,000 and a number of weapons in a ...
75% more sexual violence victims seek help in Brussels since summer
There has been a 75% increase in the number of people asking for help from the Brussels Centre for the Treatment of Sexual Violence (CPVS) since the ...
European Commission outlines possible action against the rule of law crisis in Poland
In a speech at the European Parliament plenary on Tuesday morning, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen listed three options for action against ...
PFOS contamination found in air around 3M factory
Months after unsafe levels of the chemical PFOS were discovered in the water and soil in the vicinity of a 3M factory in Antwerp, in addition to in ...
Belgium is global leader in plastic recycling and bioplastic innovations
Belgium is among the best-performing countries when it comes to innovation in plastic recycling and researching alternative plastics technologies, an ...