In recent days it has been a thorn in the side of the local authorities and police forces: those who broke the lockdown rules could only police report be punished. However, there was some reluctance among the local police to write them out so as not to burden the legal mill too much. In practice, minors invariably went free in this way.
It inspired N-VA chairman and Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever again on Friday morning to plead for the issuing of GAS fines. “The introduction of GAS to enforce the ban on gathering is urgently needed,” it said. “All local police zones are requesting parties. Only with GAS can we set an easily enforceable sentence for those who break the rules. We can’t just leave that to the judiciary. ”
De Wever and all other mayors are now at their beck and call as the National Security Council cleared two alternative forms of punishment. The first is one administrative penalty, according to a GAS fine system. The system is not quite the same: the handling is also administrative, but it is only the privilege of an agent – and not just any official – to issue such sanctions. This system should enable agents to punish minors in the future.
A second new way of punishment is the system of immediate collections, where agents make a determination and immediately ask the offender to pay. This system is already being applied to traffic fines, so it will soon also be applicable to anyone who violates a ban on gathering, for example.
“There is a royal decree ready that makes the two new systems possible”, says the cabinet of Minister of the Interior Pieter De Crem (CD&V). As soon as those KBs have gone through the administrative mill, punishments are possible in that way. The cabinet expects this to be the case in the course of the following week.