Police have news means of driving out people blocking the entrances of building, a sensitive topic among Gare residents, who haven't been feeling safe in the district for quite some while.

One issue that has been plaguing Gare residents for some time consists of people blocking the entrances of buildings, hampering access for those who live within. For the past few months, the police have had legal means to put a stop to this practice through evacuating those standing or sitting in building entrances, by force if necessary. How effective have these measures been in reality?

"It's rather humiliating to know that you can no longer enter and leave your home freely," a resident told RTL. David (name changed to protect privacy) has lived in the Gare district for six years, in a building where drug addicts regularly hang out in the entrance hall. The issue has become worse since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Having to clean up blood or urine in the morning is not very pleasant. And these people are also damaging walls, tearing cables... These are costs that accumulate. It's extremely demotivating to always put everything back in order, only to have it completely ruined again a few days later."

At first, David would contact the police about these incidents. Officers generally advised him to exercise caution, particularly when the people loitering at the entrance to the building were consuming drugs. But as of late, David has noticed a reduction in the number of police visits. He told RTL he feels the issue has been outsourced to 'A vos côtés', a local social service introduced last year. The introduction of the "Platzverweis", or dismissal, has done nothing to address the situation, David says, as the issue still persists.

Mayor Lydie Polfer is also critical of the dismissal protocol, saying it could help if only it were properly applied. Polfer added that although police have the means to remove people by force, they do not often follow through.

Minister of Internal Security, Henri Kox, said the matter was a question of proportionality and the concept of freedom:

“We live in a democratic state of law, where you have to recognise the limits of this measure, because it relates to social issues. These are different situations that require different measures. The police can be part of the solution, but they are not the only solution."

According to Kox, responsibility for the issue lies with several participants: the Luxembourg City municipal council, social services, and the police. The measure would take some time to ease into deployment, but Kox said he was confident it was heading in the right direction. After six months' time, there will be an assessment of the practicality of the "dismissal" measure.

Video report in Luxembourgish