The N-VA wants a regional drug hotline for Brussels

31 January 2024
Mathias Vanden Borre

We must have a regional drug hotline in Brussels. Brussels MP Mathias Vanden Borre stated this after the federal magistrate pointed out during the Sky ECC drug trial that the growth of drug labs in our capital is frightening. “Limburg and Antwerp have had drug hotlines for several years, which have proven successful. A big city such as Brussels, which is increasingly subjected to organised crime, cannot lag behind,” says Mathias.

During the investigation into Sky ECC, the police found drug labs, not only in industrial zones, but also in residential areas, including in Elsene, Etterbeek, Ukkel and Vorst. “It is of vital importance that we stop these labs without delay because they are a danger to the surroundings and public health. The police are doing all they can to close them down as quickly as possible, but unfortunately, they cannot be everywhere. That is why citizens can also make a valuable contribution to this,” says the N-VA MP, who is looking at the concept of drug hotlines specifically for this purpose.

Anonymous reporting

There has been a drug hotline in Limburg since 2019. Anyone who thinks they know the location of a cannabis plantation, drug lab or dumping site can report this anonymously. Antwerp’s public prosecutor’s office followed in 2021, and a drug hotline was set up in Flemish Brabant last year. “Those drug hotlines can be called a success. Since its launch in April 2019 until mid-October 2022, a total of 1,173 reports have been received in Limburg. 39 plantations and six synthetic drug production labs were discovered and closed down this way. During the first 14 months, the Antwerp drug hotline received 337 reports, 18 of which led to a positive result,” Vanden Borre explains.

We have the instruments, but not the ambition

Right from the start of the legislature in 2019, the MP called for Minister-President Vervoort (PS party) to set up a regional drug hotline. He did not respond at the time, using as a pretext the fact that it falls under the jurisdiction of the police and the public prosecutor’s office. “But as always, I must remind the Minister-President that he can, in fact, take the initiative through the regional security council that he chairs. By the way, he can set up a regional communication and crisis centre, but he would not have the authority for a simple hotline? Brussels must be more ambitious in its security policy; we have the instruments,” Vanden Borre concludes.

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