5,390 phones tapped in 2010

Last year, the police put taps on no fewer than 5,390 telephone numbers. This figure is greater than ever before. However, in these days of mobile communications many people have both a land line and one or more mobile phones, meaning the several lines have to be tapped in order to keep tabs on the same person.

In 2007, the police tapped 3,603 telephone numbers, almost 1,800 less than last year.

However, the definition of tapping also extends to hacking into a suspect’s text messages and e-mails and not just to calls made and received on land lines and mobile phones.

David Warnent of the Federal Police told the VRT that “More and more people are using more than one mobile. Sometimes they only use the number for two or maybe four days. If someone has several mobile numbers that they only use for a short period, each of these numbers counts as a new telephone tap."

The police aren’t allowed to tap a phone without good reason.

“It’s only allowed for those suspected of particular offences, such as terrorism, murder and such like. A telephone tap can only be activated with the approval of an examining magistrate.”

A telephone tap can produce important evidence.