28 March 2012
By order of the mayor of Ostend in Belgium, the city police will now arrest 20 undocumented migrants a day and detain them for 12 hours. The goal of this operation is to deter migrants from passing through the city to cross the border to the UK.
A detention facility is being being built with a number of cells, designed to hold a maximum of 20 people. Three disused garages will be adapted to this end. For the time being, cells in police stations will be used.
In 2010, 2,300 irregular migrants are reported to have stayed in Ostend. 95.4% of them received oders to leave the Belgian territory but few did so.
According to Philip Caestecker, chief of Ostend police, irregular migrants bear primary responsibility for the rise in the crime rate over the past year (house burglary is up 15%, cat theft 23%).
Controls are to be carried out at night, around the port, when irregular migrants are likely to embark illegaly to reach the UK shores.
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