Terrorism, extremism, radicalismTerrorism, extremism, radicalism

  • The Federal Judicial Police puts part of its capacity (15.5 %) at the disposal of the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office. In this context, 174 015 hours were spent in the fight against terrorism.
  • An increasing number of members of the Airport Police are trained to detect suspicious behaviour in airports.
  • In November 2019, an international action, in which the Belgian Federal Police actively participated, resulted in the suppression of some 26 000 items of online propaganda of the Islamic State.


Federal files

  2018 2019
Phenomenon Hours % %
Terrorism 236 881 60 174 016 45
Non-terrorism 159 423 40 213 102 55
Total 396 304 100 387 118 100

Behaviour Detecting Officers

The task of Behaviour Detecting Officers (BDOs) is to recognise any unusual or deviant behaviour on the basis of a wide range of characteristics. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Belgium and our neighbouring countries, there has been a growing demand for training on this technique to identify potential terrorists.

In 2019, 362 members of the Federal Judicial Police were trained as BDO "end users". 438 members of the Airport Police (LPA) also received this training (+15.5 % compared to 2018). Finally, 12 security officers from the Directorate of Infrastructure Security (DAB) followed the BDO trainer's course.

As of 31 December 2019, a total of 1 527 police officers had completed the Behaviour Detecting Officer training, including 137 qualified BDO trainers and eight "master trainers" (train-the-trainers). Training courses are continuing.

In addition, before joining DAB, all security officers and security assistants received a three-day training course in behaviour detection. They are able to perform BDO tasks, but are not required to hold a licence in this field. As at 31 December 2019, a total of 582 DAB members had successfully completed the basic training, including the three-day BDO training course.

Success Story

Six children of IS fighters brought back to the country

In June, six children of Islamic State (IS) fighters arrived in Belgium. They were entrusted to a delegation of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs in Ain Issa, northern Syria, and then repatriated with the help of the Brussels National Airport Police (LPA BruNat).

This mission was unique of its kind. LPA BruNat was asked to escort the six children from the Middle East to Melsbroek airport. The children were not accompanied by their parents or guardian.

The mission was thoroughly prepared, in particular through an operational risk analysis in which many aspects were addressed, including the geopolitical situation and public health risks. On this basis, the number of police officers to be engaged, the desired type of aircraft (military or civilian flight) and other measures to be taken were determined. The return flight, which made a stopover in Athens, was uneventful.

During the flight, the police officers of LPA BruNat were assisted by several members of the Red Cross and a member of the Central Anti-Terrorist Unit of the Federal Police.

Six children of IS fighters brought back to the country

Success Story

Online terrorist propaganda banned

On 21 November 2019, a new international action was launched under the direction of the Belgian investigating judge specialised in cybercrime and terrorism and of the federal prosecutor's office. The investigation was entrusted to the Federal Judicial Police (FJP) of East Flanders. The main objective of this action was to stop the current flow of propaganda from the Islamic State (IS).

In total, more than 26 000 online items were suppressed during this action. These included videos, publications, groups and accounts on social networks. It is obvious that such files require an international approach. Belgium was supported in this respect by Europol, Eurojust and various foreign police forces.

During the action, the Belgian investigating judge, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Judicial Police were coordinated from a Europol command post (located in The Hague). Europol's special Internet Unit (IRU) worked with various online service providers to enable them to remove IS-related information or accounts from their platform.

The Single Point of Operational Contact of the Directorate of International Police Cooperation (CGI/SPOC) also contributed to this action by processing the Siena messages sent before and during the action of 21-23 November 2019. In total, the SPOC processed 14 messages.

Canal Plan

The Brussels Federal Judicial Police (FJP) continued its efforts within the framework of the Canal Plan, both in the fight against violent extremism and terrorism and against the phenomena that support them.

This approach is mainly project-based and requires an exhaustive "picture" as well as a structural and multidisciplinary approach involving numerous public and private partners.

The fight against false documents has again been particularly successful in 2019: since the start of the structural approach in 2016, 11 clandestine production sites have been dismantled. A multidisciplinary team is working to track down the thousands of users.

The multidisciplinary BELFI project, which was integrated into the Canal Plan, extended its scope from the fight against fraud by natural and legal persons associated with radicalism and terrorism to drug trafficking, false documents and weapons. 246 locations were checked as part of 36 operations and 63 fraudulent entities were closed. The police services opened 74 investigations and the various inspectorates opened a total of 391 investigations.

Finally, the global anti-drugs plan tackles geographical "hot spots" and allows for a multidisciplinary approach to known drug clans.

Success Story

The Company Dumping project bears fruit

The new Company Dumping project, which aims to combat fictitious company headquarters in Brussels on the fringes of the Canal Plan, has reached cruising speed and has already led to the dissolution of hundreds of companies.

The transfer of a company's headquarters to Brussels has been a problem for years (it is often accompanied by the appointment of new directors). The company is abandoned by the directors and/or used for criminal purposes: money laundering, social/fiscal fraud, as a vehicle for criminal activities such as renting buildings or vehicles for drug trafficking.

This is why a structure has been set up to locate and control such businesses at an early stage and, if necessary, eliminate them through dissolution or bankruptcy. The organisers of the fraud (e.g. business centres) are also investigated.

The partners of the Brussels Federal Judicial Police (FJP) in this context are the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Brussels Labour Inspectorate, the General Public Prosecutor's Office, the six Brussels police zones, the company courts and commercial courts, the Economic Inspectorate, the Inspectorate of the National Social Security Office, the Tax Administration and the Special Tax Inspectorate, bailiffs and the FPS Economy.

Canal Plan

Screening

A screening consists in a security check for the purpose of issuing a security notice or certificate. The aim is to give certain people access to "sensitive" locations to carry out a specific job or occupy a specific position.

Security notices and certificates

Notices and certificates 2018 2019
Airports 20 625 20 068
National Security Authority (ANS) 13 278 6 569
Miscellaneous 6 200 6 488
Military 5 000 4993
Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) 5 822 4 994
Recruitments Integrated Police 4 845 5 916
Support to police zones 1 000 578
Honours 17 368 20 207
Total 74 138 69 813

Security clearances

Staff members of the Federal Police and the Local Police who, on account of their position, (must) have access to classified information or rooms, meetings, etc., need to hold a specific clearance. The purpose of these "security clearances" is to protect sensitive information by limiting its availability.

Compared to 2018, we note that the number of screenings for security clearance is relatively stable.

Security clearances issued in 2018 2019
Confidential 19 10
Secret 735 753
Top secret 147 195
Total 901 958

Note: The number of security clearance requests is slightly higher than in 2018. Some directorates want a higher level of security to address operational constraints, including access to certain databases.



Civilian crisis management at international level

Three Belgian police officers worked as anti-terrorism experts for the European Union delegations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUDEL Sarajevo), Libya (EUDEL Tripoli) and Indonesia (EUDEL Jakarta).

In addition, the Belgian police deployed a total of 10 staff members for EU civilian crisis management missions in Niger (EUCAP SAHEL Niger), Mali (EUCAP SAHEL Mali), Iraq (EUAM Iraq) and Ukraine (EUAM UKRAINE).

By taking part in these missions in the Sahel and Iraq, we intend to help local authorities deal with, among other things, the terrorist threat in these regions.

For the same reason, the Federal Police carried out bilateral police projects in Burkina Faso and Benin, under the direction of the Belgian Development Agency ENABEL.