Belgian transport security can ask for your ID


Security guards on public transport are tasked with the safety and sense of security of customers and staff. Just over a year ago, changes to the ‘Tobback’ law (which regulates the activities of private security and surveillance personnel) gave these officers new powers. The main change focused on allowing public transport security personnel to identify people. If asked to identify themselves to these agents, passengers must comply by law. It seems that the general public is not aware of this, leading to heated discussions which sometimes lead to unfortunate consequences.

On a daily basis, security officers draw up charge sheets against fare-dodgers. On the railways, Securail staff deal with passengers who refuse to pay. Hitching a free ride is an offense under the Penal Code. Over the past year, passengers have increasingly been required to show their identity cards – in case of refusal, the person is detained until police arrived.

Since the modified act came into force, there has been a sharp increase in people detained due to their refusal to hand over identification. On the trains, the number has more than tripled.

Many travellers seem to be unaware that they are legally obliged to identify themselves, which has led to many ugly incidents onboard. The changes were made in consultation with transport companies, and an overall assessment of the new legislation will be made at the end of the year.

Source STIB