Police coronavirus measure guidelines are clear, Interior Minister says

Police coronavirus measure guidelines are clear, Interior Minister says
Credit: Belga

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden met with the police on Monday following reports that the police acted in different ways when coronavirus fighting measures were violated during the weekend.

The aim of the discussion was to understand what action the police are taking in the context of the pandemic.

"The guidelines were discussed today at the weekly meeting with the police. It was established that the instructions and directives given to the police forces are clear, and that all police forces are aware of these instructions and directives,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

"If necessary, the instructions will be explained again in detail,” she added.

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However, last weekend it seemed Belgian police forces were not on the same page when it came to dealing with violations of these measures.

In Brussels, the police spotted many mask-less people sitting in big groups in the city’s parks, particularly in the Parc du Cinquantenaire and the Bois de la Cambre, however no coronavirus fines were imposed.

However, in Antwerp, the police were dealing with the same incidents, and drew up dozens of reports for violations of the measures, which they said occurred "in several locations in the city".

In both cities, the police reiterated that it cannot be in all places at once, as crowds came out in droves due to the nice weather this weekend.

Following the meeting, Verlinden, who recognised not all fines were handed out evenly, added that it is up to the local police forces to decide when and how to act.

"The police know the terrain and are best placed to assess local situations and possible risks. On this basis, they can decide whether or not to issue a warning,” she explained.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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