Coronavirus: Police can enter homes to stop lockdown parties

Coronavirus: Police can enter homes to stop lockdown parties
The campaign focuses on areas where people flock to during the night, such as Saint-Géry. Credit: Belga

The police are allowed to enter private homes to interrupt a "lockdown party" in light of the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), according to Minister of the Interior Pieter De Crem.

He referred to a circular issued by the College of Procurators-General on 25 March, which details directives on the judicial enforcement of the government's measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The directive states that "article 27 of the law on the police force can be applied, which allows an administrative search of private places."

According to that article, the police is allowed to enter buildings when the danger "is of an extremely serious and imminent nature, threatening the life or physical integrity of persons."

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In that case, they have to establish the offence, and put an end to it, for example by interrupting a party that is ignoring the rules of containment and social distancing.

Previously, De Crem had already stated that lockdown parties "demonstrate a lack of civic responsibility" and professor Emmanual André, the Francophone interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson, said that these kind of parties were "exactly what we don’t wish to see, and it will have a negative impact on the evolution of the epidemic and the intensive daily work carried out by doctors and nurses, which is getting heavier each day,” he said.

However, police officers will still have to receive authorisation from the chief of their police zone, in consultation with the King's Prosecutor.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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