Undercover police to crack down on sexual harassment in Brussels
Undercover officers will carry out regular patrols in so-called 'hotspots” and that if the program is successful, it may be expanded to other cities in Belgium that suffer from similar problems - eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News Online
Undercover officers will carry out regular patrols in so-called ‘hotspots” and that if the program is successful, it may be expanded to other cities in Belgium that suffer from similar problems
Plainclothes police officers are being deployed as part of a drive to eradicate sexual harassment in the streets of Belgium’s capital city of Brussels.
Announcing the deployment, Belgium’s Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne revealed that in some areas of the city that is de facto EU capital, almost 80 percent of women do not go out at night for fear of being harassed or attacked by the migrants and “refugees” from the Middle East and Africa.
Minister’s announcement comes after activists called on police to do more to protect women in the city.
Verbally abusing women in Brussels is already punishable by up to one month in prison or a maximum fine of €1,000 ($1,187), but authorities hope that the plainclothes cops will help “increase the safety and quality of life in Brussels for girls and women”.
Van Quickenborne said that the undercover officers will carry out regular patrols in so-called ‘hotspots” and that if the program is successful, it may be expanded to include other cities in Belgium that suffer from similar problems.
Although sexual harassment has become a growing issue in some parts of the country, reports of such incidents remain low, due to victims not coming forward or not being able to identify their assailants.
The deployment of plainclothes officers comes a month after a woman claimed that she narrowly escaped being raped in a city park. After reporting the incident to police, she was shocked to learn that such assaults have become regular occurrences but that law enforcement lacked resources to properly surveil and patrol the area. Her experience prompted her to start a petition demanding more police action to crack down on sexual harassment and assault in the city.
In recent years, countries across Europe have reported upticks in attacks on women. Sweden in particular has struggled with cases of sexual harassment and rape, with a large percentage of assailants behind the attacks in that country being foreign refugees and migrants.