Every year, during the summer months, recreational areas and outdoor swimming pools are confronted with young people who cause nuisance. Rescuers are intimidated, people fight each other and visitors make a fuss about the dress code and rules of conduct. The amok makers are a recurring problem. How should the nuisance caused by young people in recreational areas be tackled? Tonight we bundle the most fascinating reactions in a new piece. Read what our experts think below.

    Annelies Verlinden, Minister of the Interior (CD&V):

    “It must absolutely be possible for many people to be able to take advantage of the beautiful weather in such a recreation area”, says Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V). She therefore wants to see whether a national access ban for amok makers is a possibility.

    “There is a football law for football stadiums and it has been agreed that such a stadium ban can be imposed and also applies in stadiums other than those where unrest has been stirred up,” the minister explains. “I definitely want to look at that, but we have to take into account the reasonableness of the sanction.”

    The minister points out that recreational areas can already deprive people of access. “Mayors can impose a ban on public order if public order is disturbed. This ban has been included in the central police database since last summer. In this way, every police officer or woman can immediately check whether a restraining order is in force and whether the person concerned should be banned from the recreational area.” Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) has sent a circular to local authorities and operators of recreational areas, with possible preventive and repressive measures.

    Franky Demon, CD&V member of parliament:

    Demon is delighted with the circular from Minister Annelies Verlinden. He believes that young people who ruin things do not belong on the beach, in recreational areas and open-air swimming pools. “We have to bar them from entry so other guests don’t have to worry about being harassed or getting into a fight,” Demon said.

    “I am delighted that the minister has addressed this as a priority and that the circular letter for recreation areas and zones is ready for the summer. This includes preventive measures such as provincial consultation, park regulations, mandatory reservation, the appointment of a safety coordinator, raising awareness among young people at school and cooperation with youth services or training for staff. The repressive measures include an entry ban imposed by business owners, the GAS fines and a restraining order issued by the mayor. In closed domains with access control, a registration system of identity data can be considered, to detect possible violators of the imposed access ban. GAS fines can then be imposed for noise pollution, fly dumping and damage to the public domain.”

    Danny De Wit, director of De Nekker in Mechelen:

    “There have been a few disturbances at the De Nekker domain in Mechelen,” says De Nekker director Danny De Wit. “Together with the police, we have decided to close the cafeteria and the chip shop, among other things. Yet a fight has arisen between a few dozen young people.” De Wit finds the measures recommended by Minister Annelies Verlinden insufficient.

    He argues in favor of a general database so that amok makers can be banned from all recreational areas in the province. “Actually a bit like the football law”, explains De Wit. “If they run amok here at De Nekker, for example, they are no longer allowed to visit our colleagues.” De Nekker is introducing various measures, including mandatory online ticket sales with identification, limiting the number of visitors to 3,000 and limiting large groups.

    Cathy Berx, Antwerp governor:

    Antwerp governor Cathy Berx proposes to sit down with all the actors to see how they will go about it this summer. “Unfortunately, there is no miracle solution. A good initiative is that of Flemish minister Peeters to look together with local authorities at more places where people can swim in open water. Then there are alternatives.” Berx also advocates an alcohol ban. “Unfortunately, we have to look at it again: an alcohol ban. If it is really hot and people drink too much alcohol, the chance of unrest and amok is much greater,” says Berx.

    Alexander Vandersmissen, Mayor of Mechelen:

    The mayor of Mechelen Alexander Vandersmissen is also in favor of a central database, such as that also exists in football, to be able to keep amok from all recreational domains. “Unfortunately, now and then amok makers also find their way to the domain. The safety of our visitors is the number one priority,” it sounds.

    Mathias De Clercq, Mayor of Ghent (Open VLD):

    The Ghent mayor Mathias De Clercq has meanwhile given the Ghent police permission to carry out systematic identity checks after a consultation with transport company De Lijn, NMBS and the road police to better tackle nuisance from, to and in the recreation area De Blaarmeersen.

    If amok makers are on their way by train, transport company De Lijn will be informed so that extra police can be provided. The mayor wants to ban hard-learned amokmakers who run into the lamp several times. “This measure is important to guarantee the safety of visitors and bus drivers,” said De Clercq.

    An Vervliet, responsible for the recreational areas in East Flanders (N-VA):

    The province of East Flanders will deploy extra security at its recreational areas: Puyenbroeck in Wachtebeke, De Gavers in Geraardsbergen, De Ster in Sint-Niklaas and Nieuwdonk in Berlare. “We will continue to work with a reservation system in our swimming pools and will limit the capacity to one third of the normal occupancy for the time being,” says Vervliet.

    “Clear rules apply in our recreational areas and swimming pools regarding behavior and appropriate clothing. We will certainly highlight it again so that there can be no misunderstandings about it,” she continues.

    “I hope that federal action will also be taken to prevent nuisance. It cannot be the intention that we – who consciously maintain our offer – become the victims of the closure of recreational opportunities in other provinces. After all, it is all about recreation close to home. Let’s not forget that.”

    And now it’s up to you. What is your opinion? Let us know in the comments below this article. We are bundling the most fascinating reactions in a new piece tonight.

    Also review. Officer gets a push in the back from a youngster at the Blaarmeersen:

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