No “real plan” to combat Gare violence: union chief

Illustrative photo of police logo Photo: Sebastien Goossens

Illustrative photo of police logo Photo: Sebastien Goossens

Luxembourg’s interior security minister lacks a “real plan” to tackle violence around the central train station, says the president of police union SNPGL, calling for body cameras and more CCTV in the area.

Debate around the escalation of crime in the Gare district has come to a boil again following a 4 September incident in which the dog of a private security guard bit and injured another person during an altercation.

“We have a problem at the Gare and the problem isn’t small,” said SNPGL president Pascal Ricquier speaking with RTL on Tuesday. “As the police, we need to ensure that we get more people and that we get a grip on this,” he said.

Interior security minister Henri Kox (Déi Gréng) in November last year announced a €45m police recruitment drive, hiring 607 officers until 2023. Around a third of the posts were advertised at the end of last year, with successful recruits starting their two-year training programme in April. The next wave of vacancies will be advertised this autumn.

The police force doesn’t only need more staff but also additional means, said Ricquier, citing body cameras for officers and additional CCTV cameras around the station.

Former minister Etienne Schneider (LSAP) had introduced the idea of body cams in 2019 but Kox in June this year said the project is still under review, also because of lacking data protection frameworks for this type of surveillance.

Kox told lawmakers last week that he is preparing to present a strategy on combating drug crime in the capital. Parliament in July had called on the government to come up with plans to tackle violence linked to drugs.

Ricquier said he is looking forward to the presentation of these measures but said the ministry isn’t in contact with the police union to discuss these.