BELGIUMMetal detectors and luggage scanners have been operational at the Brussels-Midi station since last Friday. Random checks are carried out on travelers wishing to use an international train (high-speed train, Thalys or ICE). 

These new safety devices were presented Wednesday by interior ministers Jan Jambon and Mobility, François Bellot, SNCB’s general director of transport, Koen Kerckaert, and Securail manager Hendrik Vanderkimpen. As part of the terrorist threat in Europe, the federal government, in collaboration with the federal police and the SNCB, has decided to control people on an international train. The flow of these travelers is now channeled by security officers of the SNCB (Securail). They have at their disposal a small mobile device, which randomly decides, via an algorithm, whether a control should be performed. No profiling is thus carried out, insisted the federal ministers and the SNCB. However, if suspicious behavior is detected,

A dozen police officers from Brussels-Midi were trained to detect suspicious behavior. Eventually, all of the police officers on the ground should be trained, Jambon said. “When a terrorist prepares himself for the act, it is seen on his face, he is nervous.”

During the check, the concerned traveler enters a security lock and passes under a metal detector. His baggage is also scanned, as in the airports. If the check is positive, the federal police take the case. The objective is to detect the presence of weapons, ammunition and explosives, Jambon said.

Travelers are advised to anticipate these checks and not arrive at the last minute to catch their train.

Similar devices have been installed since Monday in Antwerp and since Tuesday in Liège-Guillemins.

Nearly 3,000 people and luggage have already been checked, for about ten problem cases, said Minister Bellot.

A budget of 15.7 million euros has been released by the federal government for these security devices, the detectors but also the acquisition of 400 additional facial recognition cameras. The Belgian rail is now equipped with 10,000 cameras.

An annual budget of € 6.6 million is also foreseen for staff, with 92 Securail agents hired under this framework and for maintenance.

These new devices are part of a comprehensive federal security plan. Other measures are already in place. Some are in the planning stage, such as the rail passenger name record (PNR), which captures the personal data of passengers on the rail. In this regard, Jan Jambon said he hoped for an agreement with the European countries and the companies concerned (Thalys and Eurotunnel) by the end of the year.