Border incident between Belgian and French police

There was an incident between Belgian police officers and their French colleagues on the border between West Flanders and the French Département du Nord on Wednesday evening. A patrol vehicle from the Ieper Local Police Service was bringing back a group of illegal immigrants that had crossed into Belgium from France.

However, the Belgian police officers crossed into France by mistake and were detained for questioning by their French colleagues. They were questioned for hours before being released. The Interior Minister Jan Jambon (Flemish nationalist) is refusing to comment on the incident.

Officers from Ieper detained 15 people that were here without valid papers on Wednesday evening. They had arrived here from Calais aboard a lorry that they though was heading for the UK.

The lorry was on a car park near to the border, but still on Belgian soil. They illegal immigrants were ordered to leave Belgium and the opted to be brought to the border as they wished to return to Calais.

50 metres inside France

Problems arose when the Belgian police officers entered France by mistake. The Francophone public broadcaster RTBF reports that they had only ventured 50 metres inside French territory.

A patrol car of the French Police Nationale arrived just as the West Flemish police officers were dropping the migrants off. The French police officers were not amused that migrants were being brought back to France.

The Belgian police offices were taken to a French police station for questioning. However, no official statement was taken.

The Belgian police officers say that they were unaware that they had crossed the border. They were questioned for some five hours and weren’t released until the early hours of the morning. According to the Ieper Local Police Service little explanation was given as to why its officers were questioned for so long.

"Ping-pong match between the Belgian and French police”

The Chief Commissioner of the Ieper Local Police Service Nicholas Paelinck told VRT News that "This is an example of the ping-pong match that is currently being played between the Belgian and the French police services. We need to reach an agreement at an international level. A Belgian order to leave the country is not valid in France and vice-versa. We need to consider an order that would be valid across the Schengen Zone so that a Belgian order to leave the country would also be valid in France”.


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