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    “You can always disappear completely in Brussels” (Unions)

    The lack of personnel that are at the service of the population creates difficulties for the local police of Brussels when regulating who resides in the territory of the municipality – although this is part of the Channel Plan of the Minister of the Interior Jan Jambon (N-VA), reported De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday based on information from the police union NSPV (SNPS). “Our neighborhood agents are conducting more frequent and more thorough checks than before”, says Nicolas Beckers of the NSPV. “But if they find out that a person no longer lives at a given location, the the case is processed within an average of 8 to 9 months by the communal administration, and in some cases takes as long as a year. In this way, individuals are able to lay low and repeatedly disappear from the radar.”

    According to the unions, there are still thousands of files to be processed, so the police can lose track of suspects (of terrorism). Delays also help fraudsters, as well as CPAS (Public Centre for Social Welfare) beneficiaries.

    Christine Pelfrene, the head of the Brussels Population Administration, admits the shortage of staff. “There are indeed delays for about a hundred cases”, she says. “We are expecting two new staff members this summer, and three officials have recently started to deal with delays.”

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times