Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No-Go Zones in Brussels

Bart Debie is a former police officer in Brussels. We have reported previously on the politically-motivated prosecution that ended his police career, and have also featured his own account of his treatment at the hands of the Belgian authorities.

Bart’s experience with the police force in Brussels gives him an insider’s view on the situation there. Below is his report on the no-go zones that have developed in immigrant areas of the city.


No-Go Zones in Brussels
by Bart Debie


Brussels riotsIn Brussels, several neighborhoods have turned into no-go zones for police officers. Neighborhoods where they can hardly patrol without being pelted with rocks, without being attacked, or without their police vehicles being wrecked. Unsurprisingly, 80% of the people who live in these neighborhoods are of Islamic origin. More often than not, the aggressors are underage.

Police inspectors claim that in several neighborhoods two patrol cars are needed for every intervention. One to carry out the assignment, and another one to prevent the first patrol car from being wrecked. Many police officers avoid these notorious immigrant neighborhoods. Last week a young immigrant was arrested after he stole a car, ran it into multiple police vehicles and tried to run over a female police officer. He admitted the facts and even acknowledged that he tried to kill the police officer. The Belgian court let him go. The female officer suffered severe injuries and will be out for months.

Arrested 145 times, no sentence whatsoever

A Belgian court of law is not an ally of the police officers. Brussels’ policemen have declared in a Flemish magazine that immigrant criminals are arrested dozens of times for armed robberies, car thefts, drug trafficking, etc. Each time, the Public Prosecutor orders their release within a few hours after the arrest. The criminals laugh at the police. One police officer claims he knows a young offender who has been arrested 145 times, but has not spent one minute in jail.

Politics protect offenders

According to the Brussels police officers, they do not receive any support at all from local politicians. In the notorious districts, most mayors belong to the Walloon Socialist Party (PS). When officers are attacked or shot at and ask for reinforcements to be sent, they are always ordered to retreat. One of the officers says: “The mayors do not like the strong approach. In Vorst, Sint-Gillis, or Anderlecht: it is everywhere the same. It is all about votes. In these neighborhoods, 70% to 75 % of the inhabitants are Islamic immigrants. The elections are about one thing only: which party makes sure my child is not sent to jail when he steals a wallet? Well, the PS does that. For many years now!
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Internal affairs

Instead of dealing with these crying abuses and reprimanding the Belgian courts, Belgian politicians react as usual: they criticize press leaks. Whoever dares to denounce the Belgian hush-hush policy has to be punished! In the meantime, Brussels’ officers who want to do their jobs are being constantly intimidated by the police department’s Internal Affaire and Comité P, which investigate every complaint against the officers. They are questioned for hours as if they are the real criminals.

The young immigrant criminals charge the officers with racism almost every time they are arrested. As a consequence, many officers resign, become ill, or suffer from depression. The number of suicides in the Belgian police force is also higher than in neighboring countries.

Being a police officer in Brussels is no longer a dream job. Nowadays, this profession seems more like “survival of the fittest.”

8 comments:

dchamil said...

If jail space is not available, perhaps it's time to bring back caning. Quick, cheap, and you won't forget it!
If the problem is lack of will to impose punishment, however, then they will get more of the same behavior.

Czechmade said...

In Munich there is a famous case of a young Turk, who did everything possible to be a criminal. They payed him some resocialization treatments and since he claimed not to understand German, he was given a translator and additional 10 000 EURO were spent on this lovely project - to talk to him.

For a while they managed to transfer him back to Turkey...however the Turkish police never noticed any sort of reprehensible behaviour...

Maybe renting a sort of home based Blackwater from each and every country to deal with such cases might help. Do not forget to employ some slightly different ethnicity - to cancell the possible bonds - Turks for Kurds and Kurds for Turks. The officers should anyhow speak the most abusive language to impress the Häftling.

Joanne said...

This seems to be the same situation in Britain, and the police are sick of getting the blame for criminals being on the street when they've arrested them numerous times and the courts just throw them back onto the streets. What is wrong with the courts? Aren't the judges suppose to honour the laws of the land? I feel sorry for the police officers, because I'm sure they are at the point of 'why bother'. Isn't the definition of insanity when you do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.....well, this is the poor police's job, but they are no longer expecting anything good to come of their labour, but insult to injury.

laine said...

Being police in socialist countries, they must have unions. Well, under cover of the union, organize a massive police protest in which they inform the public that they are prevented from protecting them any longer by politicians passing laws lenient to criminals and judges refusing to enforce even the laws on the books.

Or present it as a strictly a safety on the job matter - that police are being forced into situations more dangerous than they should have to bear. If the thin blue line breaks, there is little to stop anarchy as demonstrated in New Orleans after Katrina when many police deserted their posts and vandalism and theft ensued.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Joanne, the problem with he courts is partly that there are a lot of idiot judges out there but, mostly, that they have no discression in sentencing. They have to follow the sentencing guidelines provided by parliament, and many of those guidelines are informed by the Human Rights Act, which is an implementation of an EU directive implementing he European Declaration on Human Rights.

Custodial stences are also becoming very rare because of the reluctance of the government to build new prisons.

The result is, judges have to apply these lax sentences often against their better judgement.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Of course that should be discretion. I blame my fingers.

Bert said...

Adding to what Graham writes, judges in Belgium are appointed by political parties as far as I know. This explains for a large part their unwillingness to prosecute their masters' voters. In the Netherlands the spines and brains of many judges have been softened up during their university education by gelly-fish flower power Law professors.

Some officers from the Australian (Victorian) police force formed a "noble cause" squad (Armed Offenders Squad (AOS), dressed in black suits) to deal with "criminals lying and police being reprimanded for taking tough action". Bashing a criminal is a "community service" they said. Which it is!

An AOS member wrote a great poem for his team:

WHO YA GONNA CALL

A squad of men all as one,
ready to fight
until the job's done.

When banks get robbed
and policemen are shot,
who have we got.

Who can clean up this mess.
Let's call on the men
from the AOS.


Maybe a useful tip for police forces struggling with the same kind of turntable criminals?

Czechmade said...

Put there some street signs "No go zones". "Wild life sanctuary".

The media might like it or not.

In Thailand they are more honest and put signs in the forest warning you that you may get shot.