The General Administrative Police Regulation (ABP), better known as the Police Regulations, gives a mayor the opportunity to tackle nuisance phenomena administratively. The regulations are regularly adjusted because society is changing and new phenomena are constantly emerging. The city council will also decide on changes on Monday evening. Magnet fishermen have been very active in the Dijle city in recent months. With good intentions, because they fished a lot of rubbish out of the water.
“Mostly bicycles, but also mobile phones, broken cash boxes, weapons and war ammunition,” says Antwerp magnet fisherman Thierry Puttermans. However, from next month this will be prohibited without supervision of the Service for Clearing and Destruction of Explosive Devices (DOVO). Other cities, municipalities and organizations such as De Vlaamse Waterweg and the Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij already preceded Mechelen in this. Arguments include safety risks arising from ammunition fishing.
“We always clean up everything”
The city of Mechelen says it mainly wants to prevent an increase in discarded material. “That’s a shame, because we always clean up everything. If there were items that we couldn’t take with us, we always reported it to the city services,” explains Puttermans.
In the meantime, the magnet fishermen in the Mechelen waters are no longer so active. “We fished everything out in the most important places. What we got out of the water in Mechelen is not that bad. Especially if you compare that with Brussels and Ghent,” says Thierry Puttermans. Magnet fishing is still allowed with permission from the mayor, in certain places and during limited periods.
“That’s antisocial behavior”
Also new are the provisions against muffler terror. Drivers who ostentatiously let their noisy engines or vehicle exhausts be heard are a nuisance in various neighbourhoods. “That is really antisocial behaviour. From now on I will have the opportunity to confiscate these vehicles, just like I do with road pirates,” says Mayor of Mechelen Alexander Vandersmissen (Vld-Groen-m+).
For the approach, the city mirrors itself to Ghent. The measure was initially introduced temporarily, but since this spring the approach has been structurally anchored in the police regulation. “Experience shows that this measure has a major preventive effect. If we can combat the phenomenon just by the existence of the possibility of seizure, we have of course achieved our goal,” explains Vandersmissen.
Amendments to the police regulations also give the mayor extra clout in the fight against undermining economy or money laundering through dubious commercial matters. The possibilities for financial research are expanding considerably. “We want to conduct this very thoroughly in order to prevent subversive activity in our city as much as possible,” says the mayor.
From now on, for example, you need conclusive evidence about investments, loans and financing sources and you must be able to submit tax assessments for the past seven years. The morality investigation into the proprietor is also being expanded. “Without the required documents, the operating license will expire or a new application will be refused,” says Alexander Vandersmissen.