Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur (PS) and federal MPs Gilles Vanden Burre (Ecolo) and Georges Dallemagne (cdH) spoke about how important it was to focus on prevention when fighting terrorism.
They appeared on “A votre avis” (RTBF) to discuss the London attack. They also spoke of the need to invest in local police services and taking the fight to the internet and social media.
“We need to take the bull by the horns if we want to reduce the number of hate messages on the internet. At the same time we need to develop our own message to counter ISIS propaganda”, Mr Vanden Burre claimed. His colleague at the Chamber’s Attack Commission, Georges Dallemagne, said M16 (British foreign intelligence) had announced it intended to take on “1,000 people to work against ISIS propaganda” on social media.
Yvan Mayeur also called for local police services to be given the capacity to do more, including keeping an eye on radicalisation. Mr Vanden Burre shares this opinion, and also called for more investment in local police. “Let’s invest in our police, with local services a priority. They know the neighbourhoods and the young people that live there”, he said.
During the debate, Mr Mayeur also said that emergency services in Belgium are now better prepared to deal with attacks. He said it was difficult to anticipate these kinds of attacks, which are often “low cost”.
“Vigilance against terrorism can fail even in an organised country like the UK”, George Dallemagne said. “We are not safe”. He said that Ocam’s figures worried him as they showed there are currently 80 hate preachers in Belgium.