Arrests for public drunkenness to be better regulated

Arrests for public drunkenness to be better regulated
Credit: Belga

Arrests for public drunkenness need to be accompanied by a series of guarantees, such as the possibility of notifying a trusted person, going to the toilet, receiving water and medical assistance, and possibly a meal.

These are some of the provisions included in a bill moved by the Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (CD&V) party and approved on Wednesday by a parliamentary committee.

The draft also includes the right to a medical examination.

This type of arrest has been regulated until now by a barebones 1939 law stipulating that confinement must last a minimum of two hours and may not exceed 12 hours.

CD&V parliamentarian Franky Demon explained that safeguards similar to administrative arrest needed to be instituted. A detention of this nature remains a deprivation of liberty, he recalled.

The bill includes the removal of the minimum duration of two hours but maintains the maximum duration. The arrested person must also be informed of the reason for his or her detention, the time limit, the procedure applied and possible coercive measures.

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