Brussels also wants to seize the cars of road pirates
After Antwerp and Mechelen, the new Brussels government also wants to make a priority of confiscating the cars of road pirates. How the latter is to be put into practice is not entirely clear yet, but the idea has been around for some time in the various Brussels police districts. “At the moment, all possibilities are being analyzed,” says Matthieu Henroteaux, spokesperson for the Brussels-North Police Zone.
9 cars confiscated
For inspiration, the negotiators from various political parties can look at Antwerp and Mechelen, where vehicles from road pirates have been picked out of traffic for some time. Mechelen started it about a year ago. In the police zone Mechelen-Willebroek, four cars were confiscated last year, in Antwerp five.
In Mechelen, the drivers are first informed, and a discussion is initiated about their driving behavior. They are then visited by a local police officer or by the traffic police. The mayor of the city only intervenes when the drivers prove to be hardliners.
For example, there is the case of an 18-year-old who had already landed in trouble several times for excessive speed and irresponsible driving behavior. Even though he only had a driver’s license for a year.
Things are different in Antwerp. There, the police intervene immediately when a motorist goes rather far. Five cars have already been confiscated in a month and a half.
That ranged from a moped to a 21-year-old driver of a BMW who turned out to have used cocaine, drove through several red lights, endangered pedestrians and had a false license plate and no insurance. “We get a lot of complaints about machismo here in Antwerp,”, says spokesperson Wouter Bruyns. “The blatant cases can be removed right away.”
Meeting with the mayor
Cities can take this measure based on the law on the Police Service, but they, therefore, draw up specific regulations themselves. The maximum period for keeping a car is six months. If you lose your car, you will have a meeting with the mayor, who can also impose a driving course.
Taking away toys
“The advantage of the measure is that the sanction immediately follows the behavior,” says Ricardo Nieuwkamp, a researcher at the institute for traffic safety, Vias. “And it hurts because you snatch their toys.”
At the same time, there must be enough legal safeguards in place so that a mayor can’t just do what he wants. “That is why this must remain an exceptional measure,” says Nieuwkamp. “In criminal law, you already have a whole arsenal of measures in place to give an offender an appropriate punishment in the context of the facts.”