Earlier this month, Alcudia town hall published its amendment to the ordinance for measures to foster and guarantee citizen coexistence in Alcudia public space. This lengthy title basically had to do with the so-called “botellón”, i.e. gatherings of people (young and often underage) for the purpose of drinking alcohol in a public area. There is also the noise and there is also the mess.
Effective ordinance for tackling the botellón has been absent for way too long. This is despite the fact some years ago there was a bylaw which banned the drinking of alcohol in public spaces. Was this effective? Clearly not, and one has to wonder why it has taken all the time it has in order to give the local police “the legal tools to tackle the botellón”, as Mayor Barbara Rebassa notes. How much time does a town hall need, and what legal tools were actually lacking?
Because of the Covid measure that has meant earlier closing times for bars, etc., there has been more evidence of the botellón. Traditionally a problem in the Magic area, it has extended to Alcanada, Bonaire and the industrial estate.
The mayor says that the ordinance will “reinforce the legal environment in which police officers can work”, as the previous bylaw didn’t adequately “contemplate” the type of activities that constitute the botellón. Well, why not? It is hardly a new phenomenon.
The new bylaw will allow for fines ranging from 30 to 100 euros for drinking, and up to 500 euros for infractions such as leaving waste. Will these fines do the trick? Ultimately, it comes down to policing and to police numbers. Municipalities, always short of officers, are saying that their police forces are even more stretched now in ensuring compliance with Covid measures in general. Alcudia, as the mayor explains, has some fifty officers (not all of whom, it should be noted, are out on patrol), when there should be a minimum of eighty for a municipality of Alcudia’s size.