Police Chief “More not fewer transit-migrants in Kruibeke”

The Chief Constable of the Kruibeke-Temse Local Police Service Wim Pieteraerens says that there are groups of transit migrants numbering between 30 and 60 that are roaming around the East Flemish municipality of Kruibeke. The police chief says that this has come about since the closure of the parking facility along the E40 in Wetteren (also East Flanders). The Federal Secretary of State responsible for asylum and migration Theo Francken (Flemish nationalist) has said that he intends to meet with Mr Pieteraerens to discuss the issue. 

Nevertheless, Mr Francken maintains that the number of transit migrants in general has fallen.     

This is not the first time that Kruibeke has been in the news with issues related to Transit migrants. However, the local Police Chief has told journalists that recent measures have served to make the situation there worse.

“Unfortunately we can’t say that there has been an improvement, quite the contrary is true. Since the closure of the parking facilities on the E40 we have seen an increase in the number of transit migrants that come to Kruibeke hoping to sneak into a lorry”.   

“We are getting more and more reports and the groups are getting bigger, mostly around 30, but sometimes even as many of 60”.

Transfer to Steenokkerzeel

In mid-September the Federal Government decided that all transit migrants detained should be taken to the secure migrant facility at Steenokkerzeel in Flemish Brabant. “Right at the start this had a small effect and we were able to take people there, but soon capacity proved to be vastly insufficient", Mr Pieteraerens said.        

Mr Pieteraerens added that the promise that the Federal Police would take care of the paperwork connected to taking the transit migrants to Steenokkerzeel is not being fully met.

The municipal authority in Kruibeke has long been asking for increased security on the motorway-side parking facility on its patch. However, this is the first time that the local police chief has raised the alarm.   

"Number of transit migrants is falling"

Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ the Federal Secretary of State responsible for asylum and migration Theo Francken (Flemish nationalist) said that “The number of transit migrants fell in October in Bruges, Zeebrugge, Ostend (all West Flanders) and in the Maximilian Park (Brussels). That is since our action plan came into force. The Chief Constable of Kruibeke is the man that is present on the ground. We will contact him today to look at what can be done”.

Mr Francken believes that his action plan is working. He added that the capacity issues at Steenokkerzeel should been resolved once a new secure migrant facility opens with room for 300 more migrants.