Lawmakers call meeting as private security row intensifies
Luxembourg City Mayor and parliamentarians lock horns over the use of private security firms to patrol the streets of the capital
Lawmakers have called a meeting to discuss an attack at the Gare area at the weekend, which has caused the City’s mayor and parliamentarians to cross swords over the long-running controversy of private security patrols in the capital.
Internal Security Minister Henri Kox and Justice Minister Sam Tanson will attend the committee meeting on Wednesday, a parliament spokesperson said. The Pirate Party and the Left (déi Lénk) called the meeting.
"We go into [the meeting] to get answers about what went on", Pirate Party MP Marc Goergen, who is a member of the parliamentary committee, told the Luxembourg Times on Tuesday.
The public prosecutor has already opened an investigation.
On Saturday night, police were called to Avenue de la Gare where they found a man with a bite wound on his leg. A video capturing the incident appeared to show a private security firm’s dog hanging onto the man’s leg for at least 30 seconds while guards struggled to control the animal.
The incident rekindled the controversy surrounding City Mayor Lydie Polfer's use of private security guards to patrol the streets of the capital. Ministers Kox and Tanson have previously questioned the legality of the measure, emphasising that only the police has the authority to maintain public order.
Déi Lénk lawmakers called on Polfer to stand down following the incident but the mayor said she would not "resign because of drug traffickers" during a press conference on Monday afternoon. Polfer alleged that the man with the bite wound and two others who were arrested that day were part of drug gangs.
The Gare area surrounding the capital's train station has been a hotspot for organised crime, drug trafficking, prostitution and petty theft, prompting angry locals to stage protests against authorities' perceived reluctance to fight crime.
In December, Polfer hired a private security firm to carry out patrols in the area. The City signed a new contract with another firm in May which is due to expire on 1 November. Should the investigation unearth wrongdoing by the guards in Saturday's incident, the City may terminate the contract, Polfer told broadcaster RTL on Tuesday.
On Monday, Kox - who oversees the police - said the use of security guards as a second police force "does not meet rule of law standards". He is calling for a strategy to fight drug crime that involves local and national authorities, adding that the police alone cannot do it.