'Unity of command': Brussels Minister-President can direct police in urgent cases

'Unity of command': Brussels Minister-President can direct police in urgent cases
Credit: Belga / Paul-Henri Verlooy

In the event of acute or exceptional security problems, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort will be able to take over the management of the local police zones in the future, according to a bill approved by the Council of Ministers last Wednesday.

Today, Vervoort is already responsible for public order, but he does not have the power to direct the local police by means of orders, instructions or directives, according to a press release by Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden, who is responsible for the country's police zones.

"The possibility of unity of command will enable the Brussels police zones to act more quickly and efficiently in the event of overarching security problems," Verlinden said. "It will also promote cooperation and coordination between police services, which will benefit security in Brussels."

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This bill allows the Minister-President to temporarily manage the Brussels police with a unit of command, which makes it possible to tackle these exceptional security problems faster and in a coordinated way.

It concerns situations in which the boundaries of the local Brussels police zones are exceeded, for example in the context of tackling a terrorist attack, violent extremism, hooliganism or large-scale disorder, or drug-related crime.

"The six different police zones in Brussels often have to deal with the same criminal phenomena but have to combat them in dispersed order," said Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne. "By enabling unity of command in Brussels, police officers and resources will be able to be deployed much more efficiently and effectively to better tackle serious crime and disorder in our capital."

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