Police office and alcohol ban to ‘clear’ Brussels South Station

There will be a specific police office, more patrols, and an alcohol ban at Brussels South Station to tackle drug and security problems. These are some of the 22 concrete actions agreed between the federal and Brussels governments, the municipalities of Saint-Gilles and Anderlecht, and railway company NMBS/SNCB, under the coordination of the National Crisis Center.

“Brussels South is a private problem. The approach we are working out here could be applied in other zones, such as the North Station or in and around metro stations,” said Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort (PS).

Increased police presence

The most concrete measure is the installation of a police commissariat in or near the South Station. Interior, federal, and local police, local authorities, and NMBS/SNCB will soon meet to decide where the police office will be located and work out a concrete timetable.

The increased police presence in the station – with 160 000 passengers daily, the country’s most crucial international train station – should help combat crime, such as drug trafficking and pickpocketing, more effectively.

There will also be extra video surveillance in and around the station, access control specific train platforms, and an alcohol ban. Efforts will also be made to improve information exchange between all services involved.

Cleaner station

To tackle homelessness, drug use, and cleanliness, efforts will be made to regularly clean the station, systematically remove tags and graffiti, install emergency toilets for the homeless, ensure social permanence in the station, and provide day and night shelter for addicts. There will also be a low-threshold access center for unaccompanied foreign minors in transit, who are particularly vulnerable.

Finally, NMBS/SNCB, which launched a cry for help at the end of August, will contribute by improving the infrastructure. This will include better lighting, a mapped route to guide tourists out of the station, the development of a parking management strategy for buses and bikes, and a plan for Wi-Fi hotspots.

The start of a thorough renovation of the neighborhood through the Fonsny project will be part of the reorganization of the NMBS/SNCB patrimony around the station and Blue Line and the construction of the new headquarters of railway manager Infrabel.

North Station also has a problem

Brussels South is not the capital’s only problem neighborhood. The neighborhood around Brussels North Station also complains of crime and nuisance. Piquant detail: According to VRT, it may have to do with the Olympics in Paris that many dealers are walking around the North Station neighborhood today.

The police noted that people are being sent away from France. Paris wants to show itself to the world and is being swept clean, with Brussels as one of the destinations.


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