Police intervention in drug crime tripled since 2013

Archive photo of a canine unit at the central train station LaLa La Photo

Archive photo of a canine unit at the central train station LaLa La Photo

Police officers intervened in 4,619 cases of drug crime--possession, trafficking and use--last year, a number that has risen substantially over past years.

In 2013, the number of police interventions was at just 1,565, up from 1,239 the year before, interior security minister Henri Kox (déi gréng) said in answer to a parliamentary question published on Wednesday.

The minister has come under pressure over security concerns in the area around Luxembourg’s central train stations, which residents and local shopkeepers say is rife with drug-related crime.

“As part of the general security situation in the Gare and Bonnevoie neighbourhoods, the police reinforced their presence on the ground,” Kox said. “However, it is important to stress once again that the Police cannot solve the problem on their own.”

Kox has defended the Luxembourg police force as city authorities employed private security agents to patrol streets in the capital. The security guards have since been warned by justice minister Sam Tanson (déi gréng) that they do not have the right to ask people to move on from public places.

All police officers on the other hand are obligated to investigate and pursue drug-related crime, Kox said on Wednesday.

This resulted in 2,329 interventions in drug possession last year, in addition to 181 cases of drug trafficking and 2,109 cases of drug use. This compared to 166 interventions in drug trafficking in 2012 represents a 9% increase.  Over the same period,  interventions in drug possession increased by 88% (1,239 up to 2,329) and by 79% for interventions in drug use (1,178 to 2,109).

The police force aims to prevent drug crime through awareness-raising activities, for example in schools, Kox said. It carries out spot checks and patrols as well as long-term investigations.