Belgian Police Chief Asks Why He Should Stop Illegal Migrants from Going to Britain

A Belgian kitchen give a meal to refugees and migrants at a park in Brussels on August 22, 2017. Hundreds of migrants, most of them Sudanese and Eritrean, who hope to join the United Kingdom, sleep every night in a park in Brussels. It is a phenomenon that has emerged …
JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

The chief of police in the Flemish municipality of Kruibeke has questioned why he should keep migrants from travelling to the UK when they do not want to remain in Belgium.

Already in August, police chief Wim Pieteraerens said that his officers would not seek to detain migrants who were travelling through his country and instead only took their fingerprint information before letting them go.

Now, according to Pieteraerens, the situation has further deteriorated, with more migrants arriving and becoming more determined to reach Britain, RTL reports.

“Migrants in transit do not want to stay here and we do not want them either, maybe it’s a bit of a short-term solutioon, but why do not we let them go to England?” Pieteraerens asked.

The comments were met with criticism from Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken, who highlighted the fact that the government opened a reception centre for migrants in Steenokkerzeel meant to hold 200 migrants.

Pieteraerens said that the centre simply was not enough and noted that “there is only room for 10 people when 30 migrants are intercepted, most are released and reappear two days later.”

Belgium has seen a substantially larger share of migrants trying to reach the United Kingdom since the dismantling of the infamous Calais Jungle migrant camp.

Despite the clearance of the camp, Calais is currently thought to be home to around 500 illegal migrants trying to enter Britain illegally, three-quarters of whom are mentally ill, according to the group Doctors of the World.

Other areas in Belgium have also seen a growth in the number of illegal migrants, like the town of Zeebrugge located just outside of Bruges, where residents have become so fed up with delinquency and rising crime from the newly arrived migrants that they have threatened to take the law into their own hands.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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