War on drugs: Antwerp launches ‘largest security operation in 20 years’ 
Share article:
Share article:

War on drugs: Antwerp launches ‘largest security operation in 20 years’ 

Credit: Belga

The Antwerp police will launch what they call the largest security operation in the past 20 years against organised drugs crime, Operation Night Watch, on Friday.

The mayor of the City of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, whose drug policy in the city has repeatedly been called a ‘war on drugs’, reacted to the many attacks in the drug environment in recent weeks in the districts of Borgerhout and Deurne, by announcing a large-scale and long-term action to tackle the feeling of insecurity, reports ATV.

“Over a longer period of time, we will carry out daily visible and less visible actions to discourage these problems as much as possible,” chief of the Antwerp police Serge Muyters told De Morgen. “This action will be our absolute priority.”

“Our biggest fear is that innocent people would be killed. We have been lucky in that regard, recently. It has been an important wake-up call,” De Wever said. “We and the police have always responded administratively in previous incidents. But as the recent incidents are of a nature and order that we have never seen before, our response will be the same.”

Related News:

 

The main focus of the operation will be the drugs-related violence happening at night. Additional neighbourhood teams will be called in, extra police patrols will be set up, and streets may also be closed off to prevent attacks.

Systematic identity checks, first response teams to “dynamic patrols” on motorcycles, and additional activation of the drug support team are also part of the operation, as will the BearCats (the armoured vehicles) to protect the officers against heavily armed criminals, reports VRT.

“We are mobilising a great many people,” said Muyters. “We are going to try to make it clear to the drug environment that they have gone too far.”

Since 2017, 66 grenade attacks or shooting incidents (presumably) related to drugs have already been counted in Antwerp, reports De Morgen.

According to De Wever, there are indications that these are conflicts that arise in the context of the import or sale of large batches of drugs, or power conflicts within the drug environment. People are rarely injured, but the aim may be both intimidation and drawing police attention to rival criminals.

The operation will start on Friday evening and will last at least a few months. “As long as necessary,” said Muyters.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB buses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...
Heirs of Michael Jackson demand that Belgian radio show ‘King of Pop’ changes name
The heirs of American pop singer Michael Jackson have demanded that a Belgian radio programme, called "King of Pop" changes its name, their lawyers ...
More than one billion coronavirus vaccines exported by EU
The European Union (EU) has exported more than one billion coronavirus vaccines globally over the past ten months, of which just under one-tenth was ...