Jasper Jacobs

Airport screening helps police track fugitives

The screening of the identities of those passing though Belgian airports has help police trace 834 people that were flagged as wanted on their computer database. The news first appeared in Friday’s edition of the daily ‘De Tijd’ and has been confirmed by the Interior Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA).     

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.