Ghent’s city centre to be under camera surveillance for six months
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Ghent’s city centre to be under camera surveillance for six months

Credit: Belga

Between May and October this year, Ghent’s city centre will be placed under camera surveillance to help the police enable crowd control, according to Mayor Mathias De Clercq.

He announced on Monday that he will allow the local police to watch several of the busiest squares in the city for six months, Het Nieuwsblad and De Morgen report.

“Although there are no ‘Gentse Feesten’ this summer, we do expect a lot of activity in our city centre. That is why, just like last summer, there will again be cameras in the city centre for crowd control. This will allow the police to monitor everything properly and to direct teams in the field. That way, action can be taken quickly if necessary,” said De Clercq.

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Cameras are expected to be installed on squares and in places that attract many people, including the Graslei, Korenmarkt, Vrijdagmarkt, Vlasmarkt, where there are currently no cameras.

Over the last few weeks, many of these places, including the Sint-Pietersplein in the student neighbourhood, have seen crowds of people, often younger people, gather en masse, in violation of the coronavirus fighting measures.

Installing cameras is expected to help the police have control over unsafe situations, which they are fearing following these incidents.

The city council still has to approve the decision, but De Clerq has already said these cameras will be placed. Bodycams for the Ghent police are currently also on the table.

Last year, the police were also allowed to hang cameras in ten places in the centre of Ghent, from July to October. The police were allowed to keep the images for one month, after which they were deleted.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times