Since the beginning of April a special department of the Federal Police Service, the customs and the security services have been checking the identities of passengers at Belgian airports.
Currently around a third of all airline passengers are screened to see if they feature on the police database. However, not all airlines provide the authorities with passenger lists.
Of the 5 million passengers screened so far, 834 were found to be flagged as wanted in the police computer system. They were wanted for offenses drugs, terrorism and parental kidnapping.
In 10% of cases the police went to the airport to question and/or detain the individual.
In the remaining cases the information was added to the database with a view to using it at a future date. “The system is intended not only to help catch people, but also get a picture of their modus operandi and movements”, those behind the checks told the paper.
A similar system is being set up for users of international coach and train services.