Nicolas Beckers of the NSPV says that "if police see that someone has given up his/her place of residence, it takes up to 8 or 9 months for that dossier to be treated by the municipal authorities, sometimes even a year. This would allow someone to disappear completely and seek a hide-out."
The unions says the problem lies with the administration department in Brussels. "There are thousands of dossiers waiting to be treated. Police can lose track of suspects or terror suspects. But the slow processing also makes it easier to commit fraud. A social services allowance can keep running for months before it is being scrapped", says Beckers.
Christine Pelfrène, the head of the Brussels population department, admits there is a problem and is talking of "hundreds of cases waiting to be treated". "However, things are to improve soon. We expect extra staff this summer", she told Het Laatste Nieuws.