Antwerp war on drugs: failure to cooperate breaks taskforce in half

Antwerp war on drugs: failure to cooperate breaks taskforce in half

In the battle against drugs in Antwerp, the federal half of the special narcotics team quit because of cooperation issues with the local units.

After the local Antwerp narcotics team finished an operation that was supposed to be taken care of by the federal team, the tension ran high between the departments. The local team was informed by email that their federal colleagues would no longer be working in the same building, effectively abandoning the Antwerp Flow Plan, in which all resources to combat the drug problem in the city were to be located in the same building for fast and easy communication.

“The city council has invested 600,000 euros in this special office with all possible IT resources. We cannot just throw all of that away. With the new Antwerp attorney, Franky De Keyzer, in place, we want to see how to proceed with the narcotics teams and the Flow Plan," the local police said.

The police chief of the federal police, Stanny De Vlieger, denied that his staff had left. “That claim lacks any nuance. Our people work in several buildings, depending on the type of work," he said.

Mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) called the departure of the federal team a disgrace for the functioning of the security services and the magistrates. He demanded "a serious explanation from ministers Koen Geens (Justice) and Pieter De Crem (Home Affairs)," according to Het Laatste Nieuws.

Attorney De Keyzer also emphasised that the Flow Plan is not without obligation: "Every partner must fulfil its commitments."

The evaluation of the narcotics team and the Flow Plan, which should have already been done in March, has been postponed until September.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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