Knokke in happier times
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Holiday home parents to face child neglect charges?

The Mayor of Knokke, Piet De Groote, has unveiled plans that could lead to the prosecution parents who abandon their offspring in holiday homes.  The mayor is consulting with prosecutors and discussing charges of child neglect and damaging the image of the jet set seaside resort.

Earlier it emerged police had issued 250 corona fines with regard to children partying in the resort in violation of corona restrictions.  Most of the youngsters are Francophone minors from Brussels and Walloon Brabant, who have been dropped off at their parents’ holiday homes.

During the Easter break around 400 youngsters regularly met up on the seafront and beach equipped with lots of booze and few face coverings.  The youngsters harassed young families with children enjoying the sunshine on the beach and damaged several beach bars.  Some youngsters were so drunk they had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Mayor De Groote is eager to take action: “I’m examining whether I can file a complaint against the parents on account of the parties the children organised. If this happens in future too, I intend to consider complaints of child neglect and damaging the city’s image”.

The mayor is full of praise for local police officers: “They had a choice: to intervene in protective gear and with their truncheon or a softer approach.  The latter was the right choice: don’t forget many of the youngsters are 14- or 15-year-olds who are partying here with their parents’ permission. This two percent spoilt things for the other holiday homeowners who stuck to corona rules. Together with local residents I wish to congratulate people who stuck to corona rules.  At the end of the day we had a splendid holiday!”

Knokke will deploy 12 extra officers this summer.  They will be equipped with bodycams to identify suspects.  Officers will drive quads and 24-hour CCTV cameras will be installed too.

Radio 2

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