Brussels Airport to improve interagency security cooperation against terrorism

Brussels Airport to improve interagency security cooperation against terrorism
Credit: Belga

For the first time, a global security plan has been drawn up for Brussels Airport in Zaventem, as all the airport's security services will improve the exchange of information in the fight against terrorism and drugs, among other things.

After the terrorist attacks of 22 March 2016, in which over a dozen people lost their lives at the airport, a Parliamentary Committee recommended that a security plan be drawn up for Brussels Airport. Six years later, the plan has now been drawn up, approved and implemented.

The aim is to "control and reduce administrative and criminal phenomena in and around the airport in both outgoing and incoming traffic of passengers, goods and services," according to a statement by the Halle-Vilvoorde Public Prosecutor's Office, which is responsible for the airport.

Lack of cooperation

This will be made possible through a "coordinated proactive, preventive and reactive approach" by the relevant police, judicial and security services, in cooperation with private partners at the airport, administrative authorities and foreign partners.

One of the airport's main problems was that customs, Federal Police, Aviation Police, Justice and Federal Public Mobility Services did not always share their information smoothly, which resulted in a lack of cooperation and clear communication.

Therefore, the Parliamentary Committee established a need for a "clear structure" with a "good division of roles" – which are now in place in the airport safety platform, according to the Public Prosecutor's Office.

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The priorities of the services have also been set: they must first focus on the fight against drug trafficking, second on radicalisation, extremism and terrorism, and third on the illegal economy.

"The approach has already yielded results," said Halle-Vilvoorde Prosecutor Ine Van Wymersch. "For example, a money-laundering organisation that smuggled cash abroad was uncovered, a couple that sent drugs abroad via postal packages was arrested, and 70 kilos of cocaine were intercepted."

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