Nuisance fines are controversial. Ghent does not want to follow other municipalities and issue nuisance fines on account of delinquent behaviour by 14 and 15-year-olds, but is keen to take some action.
In future under-16's caught urinating in public or being too rowdy can look forward to a letter from the burgomaster. If the youngster reoffends before the age of 16 he or she can look forward to a visit from the youth inspector. Mayor Daniël Termont concedes that the approach is somewhat paternalistic, but sees no other alternative. He is unwilling to allow total impunity for such acts.
What will be in the letter the Ghent authorities still need to decide, but the mayor hopes to introduce the letter before the summer holidays.
The proposal has been welcomed by the main opposition party of Ghent city council, the Flemish Patriot Party N-VA.