More than 30 police officers on sick leave in Schaerbeek after an incident with a minor who “hit an inspector with a knife with a folding blade”

More than 30 police officers on sick leave in Schaerbeek after an incident with a minor who “hit an inspector with a knife with a folding blade”

Nearly 30 Brussels-North police officers went on sick leave on Tuesday morning after an incident with a minor, the Flemish daily newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and Het Laatste Nieuws reported. The National Union of Police and Security Personnel (SNPS) confirmed this information via Twitter. The police in the Brussels-North zone (Schaerbeek/Evere/Saint-Josse-ten-Noode) did not wish to comment on the case. Some sources within the police report more than 30 absentees.

According to the press, the absence of police officers from the North district police station in Schaerbeek follows an incident in which a minor pointed a knife at an inspector. The incident happened on Sunday evening, said Willemien Baert, spokesperson for the Brussels public prosecutor’s office. An 11-year-old runaway was found by the police in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. While the agents wanted to bring him back to his parents, “the boy rebelled and gave two punches with a switchblade knife without taking the blade out of it. He was able to be quickly brought under control by the police officers presentcontinued the spokesperson. “No one was injured during the operation and the young man was able to be taken away. These are facts that took place in a very specific context. We released the young man, but he is the subject of ‘a trace”he specified.

Given his young age, he was not made available to the juvenile judge and could not be placed in a centre. According to court sources, the boy is dealing with a very specific problem and is well cared for by his parents, but things went wrong on Sunday evening. The Brussels Youth Prosecutor’s Office will follow the situation of the minor very closely and will see that the appropriate measures will be taken.

Police ‘shocked’

Following this incident, many police officers wanted to send a strong signal, in particular because it occurred a month after the attack which had cost the life of Thomas Monjoie, a 29-year-old police inspector, on November 10 shortly after 7 p.m. rue d’Aerschot, in Schaerbeek.

The incident on Sunday has “deeply shocked all the police forces in the Brussels-North zone”according to his spokesman, especially colleagues who work in the same police station as the inspector who was attacked. Many people working there are away today “but the police station remains open and we continue to provide public services”added the spokesperson.

Other incidents have taken place recently. A person attempted to stab a police officer and was immediately released. A week before, another person was arrested with a samurai sword. A miner also doused a police officer with ammonia, he added. “The problem is that if the police officer is not injured or does not file a complaint, the prosecution will not follow up on the facts”pointed to the spokesperson. Indeed, measures are only taken in the event of serious injuries. “Many police officers do not report anything and continue to work, not wanting to let their colleagues down. In this way, the so-called zero tolerance will not survive”according to him.

According to the same sources, incidents involving bladed weapons occur every week in this police zone. “The police are not always involved, but these remain serious acts, which are not followed up”justice cannot put all the suspects in prison, for lack of space. The same goes for transmigrants who do not all find a place in a reception centre. “These people create their own parallel world where drugs are sold (…). As police officers, we want to help, but we are not helped”said the spokesperson.

This does not exclude that this action which began in Schaerbeek extends and continues in the days to come. For its part, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office stresses that any violence against the police is and will continue to be a priority. In each file an appropriate follow-up will be granted.

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