Police have carried out 17,000 checks on adherence of covid-19 rules between mid-March and mid-November, officials said during a Chamber of Deputies hearing on 20 November 2020. Library picture: Police officers are seen on patrol, 27 September 2019. Photo credit: Chambre des Députés
Law enforcement officers have caught roughly 5,500 people allegedly failing to observe coronavirus-fighting restrictions, the government has said.
Police officers have carried out 17,000 checks on compliance with covid-19 rules and issued “a total of 3,500 fines and summons” since March 2020.
Customs agents have been conducting checks on the public transport system. They issued “more than 2,000 fines and summons” to people who were caught not wearing a face mask, as of mid-November.
The figures were given during a joint hearing of the parliamentary health, internal security and justice committees on Friday. Sam Tanson, the Green party justice minister, Henri Kox, the Green party internal security minister, and police, justice ministry and customs officials appeared via videoconference. The session was called by the opposition CSV party ahead of a vote on the government’s new covid-19 restrictions bill, expected on Monday or Tuesday.
Officials said that police were tasked with monitoring observance of the 11pm to 6am curfew that started on 30 October, limits on the size of gatherings, and compliance with isolation and quarantine requirements.
For the most part, residents and restaurateurs have complied with the curfew, officials told MPs. However, there are a small number of café owners who have “received several fines for the same reasons.”
The police prefer to “remind everyone of their responsibility” to observe physical distancing measures, rather than issue fines, officials stated. As for enforcing isolation or quarantine rules, the “police have no way of checking whether people are under restrictions and fining them if needed.”
Officers issue fines to people they believe have clearly breached restrictions; summons are given when officers have a doubt and the person must appear at a police station with supporting evidence at a later date.