Annual report

Police activity picks up after pandemic

Between protests, Gare disctrict security issues and drug trafficking, the grand ducal police saw an uptick in activity in 2021. Photo: LaLa La Photo

Between protests, Gare disctrict security issues and drug trafficking, the grand ducal police saw an uptick in activity in 2021. Photo: LaLa La Photo

Luxembourg’s police on 5 August shared its annual report for 2021, noting a growth in expenditure but also an increase in certain types of crimes.

With 1,597 members of staff in total in the country, the grand ducal police in 2021 started a recruitment campaign. to meet the growth in reported crime (+40% compared to 2020) and the population boom Luxembourg has witnessed over the past years.

Recruitment, rent part of increased spendings

The police spent over €289m in 2020, an increase of 8.26%. The majority went towards personnel cost (79%) while 13.5% were recorded as current expenses and 7.48% were spent on capital. The increase in spendings is mainly linked to the police’s recruitment effort, something that “will continue in the next years to come” as hiring efforts continue. €5.225m went towards digitalisation.

The report also comments on the police’s e-mobility project. In 2018, it had bought 2 Teslas and by 2021 had a total of 20 electric vehicles. At the start of 2022, it was revealed that the group had purchased 96 diesel vehicles. In its report, the authorities state that “electromobility in the police is quite feasible, but not for all areas of use,” citing autonomy, charging time, the sensitivity to cold and the reliability of acceleration as reasons for not using its e-fleet for interventions.

The increase in rent prices that has been a worry for Luxembourgers also affected the police, and contributed to the rise in spending, the report notes.

Crime rates up for second pandemic year

The activities of the different departments that take care of specific types of crimes were also presented in the annual review.

“Local perpetrators, usually issued from the world of drug and homelessness continued to be particularly active,” the department in charge of the suppression of organised crime and theft stated. “We also saw a return of professional criminal groups operating from abroad.”

A stark increase of 20.24% of thefts accompanied by acts of violence was observed. Over 2021, 1,147 inhabited houses and 502 unoccupied houses were broken into, while 229 cars and 987 bikes were stolen. A total of 42,875 offences and 30,213 cases were counted. A case can be made up of several offences, the police notes.

The authorities also underlined that cases of violence against persons (hostage-taking, suspicious deaths, murders, suspicious disappearances) increased since 2018 from 58 to 118. Compared to 2019, there was also a growth of 35% in cases of abuse towards minors as well as juvenile delinquency, a phenomenon that had been somewhat curbed by the lockdown in 2020.

On the road, agents took away 1,630 driving licenses, of which 20% were for speeding and 80% for DUI.

To counter these crimes and others, such as sexual exploitation of youths online or radicalization risks, the police relies on awareness campaigns among both groups that are most at-risk of being the victims and the perpetrators, as well as investment in prevention programmes.

Police busy with covid protests

Lastly, the police report for 2021 looks back at the protests that followed the implementation of vaccination campaigns and Covid-Check in 2021. Aside from a larger operation that involved the Belgian police forces, several further protests lead to confrontations between local authorities and citizens.

In the context of the pandemic and ensuing restrictions, the police undertook more or less 9,500 check-ups and issued around 3,900 summons and filed 420 reports.

Safety around the Gare district in the capital was also one of the police’s focuses, according to the report. To improve security, agents spent a total of more than 1,000 hours publicly patrolling the problematic parts of the neighbourhood, the report states. During 29 special interventions, officers also arrested 33 persons for drug trafficking.

However, during a meeting at the end of 2021 with head of police and home security minister Henri Kox  (déi Gréng) and mayor Lydie Polfer, residents of the neighbourhood stated that they still felt unsafe.