15 cases of aggression per day against staff off Belgian public transport companies

Last year, there were an average of 15 cases of aggression per day against staff of Belgian public transport companies, a 1,5% increase compared to 2022. To stop such aggression, De Lijn, MIVB/STIB, NMBS/SNCB, and TEC have launched a joint campaign.

They are also calling for further support from the police and judiciary to tackle the problem.

5,598 cases of aggression

Together, the four operators received 5,598 reports of aggression in 2023, more than in 2022, which was already a record year in terms of the number of aggressions.

About a quarter of the aggressions involve physical violence; all the others involve insults or threats. In 2023, 892 employees were absent due to aggression, accounting for almost 28,000 days of disability.

The four public transport companies have now launched a joint campaign to call for more respect for employees. It focuses on 12 employees who have faced verbal or physical aggression. Posters with photos of the employees will be seen in stations and on vehicles from now on.

The campaign aims not only to call for respect for employees but also for basic public transport rules, such as having a valid ticket or not putting your feet on the seats. Discussions with passengers who do not respect these rules are often at the root of the aggression, they say.

National camera network

The four operators are already taking many measures to counter aggression, including a network of tens of thousands of surveillance cameras whose images can be made available to the police. But the transport companies say more is needed.

NMBS/SNCB, MIVB/STIB, De Lijn, and TEC are asking the police and judiciary to investigate any aggression their staff faces thoroughly and punish the perpetrators swiftly and severely.

In addition, a sufficient and visible presence of the various police forces in support of their security services remains necessary, both on public transport, at stations and stops, and in the surrounding area.

Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) has indicated that she will invest additional resources in station security, including by further developing a national camera network so that all images from NMBS/SNCB cameras in and around stations are shared in real-time with the federal police and all local police zones.

Aggression against public service personnel is considered an aggravating circumstance and can be punished by 3 to 5 years’ imprisonment.


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