Troublemaker ban in recreational areas proposed in parliament

Troublemaker ban in recreational areas proposed in parliament
CD&V MP Franky Demon pictured during a plenary session of the Chamber at the Federal Parliament. Credit: Belga.

Franky Demon (CD&V) has called for a nationwide ban on troublemakers in parks and other recreational areas.

"As soon as the sun comes out, we receive reports of fights, vandalism, obstruction of emergency services and even sexual harassment," the Flemish MP told Belga News Agency.

Municipalities have been able to impose a temporary one-month ban on these troublemakers since last year, but Demon claims that this doesn't go far enough. Park authorities say that troublemakers simply move to another area if they're banned.

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To this end, Demon has submitted a bill to parliament, which would be based on the law governing security at football matches.

What does this bill look like?

The Bruges parliamentarian has taken inspiration from the Federal Government's crackdown on football hooliganism. Demon proposes that those who misbehave in one recreational area will also be denied access to any other domain in the same municipality. "This way, we will avoid the nuisance simply moving from one place to another."

Translation of tweet: "With my bill to enact a national ban on (troublemakers) entering recreational areas, troublemakers will be denied access to all recreational areas, as is the case with the stadium ban in the law governing football."

Mayors will also be required to report each ban on a site over which they have authority. On request, this information will be made available to recreational areas. Park regulations may also include banned access for anyone having previously been barred from another park.

No time to wait for the N-VA

According to Belga News Agency, N-VA MP Koen Metsu expressed surprise after hearing the CD&V's proposal, citing an earlier resolution he submitted in 2020. In it, he detailed a black list for swimming pools and other recreational areas, following various incidents of harassment in Flemish swimming pools.

Metsu has therefore urged CD&V Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden to pass his black list proposal, stating that "it is incomprehensible that CD&V still has to come up with its own bills, rather than implementing what is already on the table."

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