Police and citizens’ security
- The Federal Judicial Police arrested 3 264 persons suspected of being involved in various crime phenomena.
- With more than 10 000 monthly consultations by police officers, the digitalization of the Bulletin de recherche et d’information (Information and Investigation Bulletin) #anyplace #anytime #anydevice is a success.
- The numbers tell the tale: the integration of the Security Corps of the Federal Public Service Justice into the Directorate of Infrastructure Security (DAB) is a success.
Combating crime phenomena
|Investigative capacity broken down by phenomenon||2018||2019|
|Violence – murders and manslaughters||223||451|
|Unknown (arrests not linked to a phenomenon)||1 497||176|
|Medication fraud (and fraud related to food supplements)||/||8|
|Total||3 407||3 264|
* "Arrest" is to be understood as any person identified as a suspect deprived of his/her liberty by law, in accordance with the Salduz legislation (category IV).
Money laundering cases
Money laundering is a specific part of the Ecofin phenomenon. It is defined as the concealment or disguise of the movement of (financial) income from any criminal activity (main offence) committed in Belgium or abroad and/or the disguise of the illegal origin of pecuniary advantages or profits.
* including 427 new cases opened in 2019; an increase of 76 cases compared to 2018.
The FAST tracks fugitive offenders
A new law (enacted on 5 May 2019) authorizes the use of additional special investigation methods and other investigation techniques to search for fugitives.
Some significant facts and figures:
- 84 fugitives were apprehended in Belgium;
- The FAST autonomously carried out 10 renditions from abroad;
- 18 arrests were made within the framework of the European ENFAST project;
- The FAST arrested three of the six new fugitives on the Belgium’s Most Wanted list;
- The FAST was able to trace six other people on the Belgium’s Most Wanted list by collaborating with other FAST teams in Europe;
- The FAST arrested a Belgian national that was on the Europe’s Most Wanted list on Spanish territory.
They thought they were out of reach... Well, they weren't!
One of the highlights of 2019 was undoubtedly the arrest of the couple Lacote and Van Acker, both serving life sentences for the murder of a British businessman in 1996. The couple took refuge in Côte d'Ivoire and thought they were out of reach. However, on 20 (Lacote) and 21 (Van Acker) November, the escape of the "Devil's couple" came to an end. Indeed, against all odds, the two criminals were arrested with a view to their extradition to Belgium. The couple will have to answer for their acts before the West Flanders Assize Court.
Detection and alert
Wanted notices in the media: an added value
The clearance rate highlights the added value of wanted notices and calls for witnesses in the media.
- Thirty cases (43 %) were resolved, or nearly resolved, thanks to the FAROEK television show. 69 television reports were produced for this programme.
- In addition, 22 crime clips were produced, six of which led to the identification of the perpetrators.
Arrest of a paedophile
In November 2019, a paedophile was apprehended very quickly thanks to the wide coverage of the case in the investigative television programme FAROEK Live, on social media and in the news (especially newspapers).
The city of Ronse, in East Flanders, was confronted time and time again with two cases of harassment of teenagers by a male individual. Fortunately, the boys both managed to escape their predator. Each time it was the same suspect. The police and the public prosecutor's office made every effort to apprehend the suspect as quickly as possible and prevent him from victimizing others. A composite picture was drawn and, thanks to surveillance cameras, the police were also able to obtain images of the suspect. All media were asked to help: social networks, newspapers, websites... The investigative television programme FAROEK Live was also on TV at that time. The police and the channel's staff managed to prepare the story in record time and broadcast it in the live show.
The media attention given to the case generated many reactions. The day after the broadcast, the suspect was already recognized on the street. The police were able to arrest him almost immediately afterwards.
The Information and Investigation Bulletin gets a facelift
The Information and Investigation Bulletin aims to facilitate the identification of perpetrators. This instrument has been developed for all members of the Integrated Police, and in particular for field police officers.
The Information and Investigation Bulletin was thoroughly redesigned in 2019. From now on, thanks to a SharePoint site, police officers can access this tool #anyplace #anytime #anydevice. This means that they can consult it anywhere, anytime and on any device (PC, laptop, smartphone...), and also react immediately to a wanted notice.
The usage statistics speak for themselves: there are more than 10 000 visitors per month! About 6 000 messages were published in the Information and Investigation Bulletin last year, allowing the identification of 703 persons.
The Directorate of Infrastructure Security is growing
The Directorate of Infrastructure Security (DAB) has become a reality in the police landscape, multiplying its staff by four in one year (+298 % compared to 2018). Composed of 270 staff members at the end of 2018, DAB reached 988 staff members at the end of 2019:
- 2 chief superintendents
- 22 superintendents
- 74 chief inspectors
- 846 security constables/security assistants/security coordinators
- 44 administrative and logistic staff members.
With the integration of the Security Corps (VKCS) of the Federal Public Service Justice on 1 January, DAB saw its ranks increase by 391 members dedicated to the Courts and Tribunals Police. Since the takeover of this mission, DAB has carried out 1 500 transfers of minors and 75 000 transfers of adult detainees.
The Directorate of Protection (DAP) carries out various types of missions.
* 1 mission = protecting one VIP per day.
** This large increase is due to the permanent protection of two additional VIPs who travel a lot and benefit from this protection even when travelling abroad.
*** 1 mission = protecting one prisoner per day.
**** 1 escort mission = protecting one cash transport vehicle per day.
Assize Court trial under the sign of terror
The trial of Medhi Nemmouche and Nacer Bendrer, for their participation in the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels (24 May 2014), was held from January to March 2019.
This trial was the first linked to the wave of terrorism in recent years.
The days dedicated to the trial turned out to be challenging for all parties involved: tumultuous court sittings, suspensions, cameras from around the world filming the event, various alerts (suspicious vehicles, anthrax...).
Mehdi Nemmouche has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Nacer Bendrer, for his part, was sentenced to 15 years' rigorous imprisonment. Both are serving their sentences in France.
This trial is an example of success in the transfer of dangerous detainees. Indeed, the level of police cooperation was optimal despite the extremely sensitive and complex nature of this high-risk mission.
After several months of preparation and two and a half months of trial, the results are very positive thanks to the commitment of the members of the Directorate of Protection (DAP) of the Federal Police – DAP deployed 11 police officers every day of the trial, for a total of 5 650 hours – but also of its partners:
- the President of the Court and the staff members of the Brussels Courthouse;
- the Bruxelles-Capitale/Ixelles police zone for the protection of the premises and the management of the public order missions;
- The Directorate of Infrastructure Security (DAB) for its support during the transfers of prisoners;
- the Directorate of Dog Support (DACH), which swept the premises in search of potential explosives;
- the Directorate of Public Security (DAS) with its APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier) vehicles used to block access to heavy vehicles;
- the Air Support Unit (DAFA) for the overflight of the routes and aerial detection of any intrusion into the police operations;
- the District Communication and Information Service (SICAD), the Directorate of Administrative Police Operations (DAO) and the Counter-Terrorism Section of the Brussels Federal Judicial Police (PJF-FGP/DR3-OA3) in support.
Belgian expertise honoured by Republican Guard motorcyclists
The Belgian police and the French Gendarmerie cooperated on the Grand Départ of the Tour de France which took place on Saturday 6 July. Forty-seven Republican Guard motorcyclists crossed the border to ensure the safety of the racing cyclists and the public. The French said they were very satisfied with the collaboration between France and Belgium; the knowledge and experience of the Belgian police have indeed made the work easier.
The team time trial stage Brussels-Brussels on Sunday 7 July was an opportunity to see this collaboration at work several times. For this stage, the 22 teams had in front of them a duo composed of a member of the French squadron and a Belgian policeman. The aim was to warn the spectators to stay on the side of the road.
Trespassing consists in crossing railway tracks on foot when it is not authorised and very dangerous.
Last year, the Missing Persons Unit dealt with 945 worrying disappearances (344 women and 601 men). Most persons (759) were found alive and well. A total of 885 cases were closed (93.6 %).
The Missing Persons Unit intervened 46 times following the discovery of bodies or unidentified human remains.
In more than 100 search operations, the unit used the side scan sonar of the Maritime and River Police. This resulted in a total of 77 diving operations, allowing the search on 117 interesting spots. Thirty vehicles were detected and 21 bodies of missing persons were found and recovered.
The Federal Police uses, among other things, its helicopters to find missing persons. Thanks to this air support:
- Twenty-five persons were found alive (+150 % compared to 2018, when 10 persons were found alive).
- Five persons were unfortunately found dead.
Administrative approach to crime
In the fight against organised crime, a proactive administrative approach exists alongside the reactive criminal approach. The concept of administrative approach aims to undermine organised crime by using an additional pillar (in addition to the traditional judicial, the police and the financial pillars), i.e. the administrative pillar.
Three district expertise and information centres (ARIEC Antwerp, ARIEC Limburg and PAALCO for Namur) work with this approach, through which various initiatives are carried out. Here are some achievements to be proud of:
The Namur PAALCO organised an information morning on criminal phenomena linked to the car wash sector. That information session brought together partners from different professional spheres. The participants were then able to (re)discover and understand how the PAALCO works. The role of each partner in the fight against organised crime was also explained.
Since 2018, the Antwerp ARIEC has received several requests for advice on motorcycle gangs. The ARIEC, which has acquired expertise in preventive and reactive tools to fight these gangs, has opted for a structural approach. Three information sessions were organised for local authorities and local police zones. An arrangement model for motorcycle clubs was developed by the ARIEC. Other initiatives on this phenomenon are being taken.
The administrative approach to crime can also be used as an additional support after judicial investigations have been completed. The ARIEC Limburg has opened a file for environmental offences and, more specifically, on the discolouration of fuel. The aim was to carry out an administrative sealing after the judicial unsealing. This initiative enabled to put a stop to a large-scale heating fraud at an industrial site in Opglabbeek/Oudsbergen.