Illegal street parties in Barcelona: over 120 sanctioned per day, despite higher fines
The new penalties came into force on August 2 and can reach up to €600
BarcelonaWith the approach of the major festivals of Gràcia, Sants and later La Mercè, Barcelona City Council has called for citizens to behave with "civility and individual responsibility". Although complaints for anti-social behaviour remain at the same rate as other years, some phenomena such as the illegal street parties known as botellones seem to have become entrenched despite night venues reopening and the end of the covid-related restrictions that marked the last two summers. "Some situations are worrying," admitted the first deputy mayor for Security, Albert Batlle, after the control meeting on security and civility to assess the first week of August. On Tuesday 2, the increase in penalties for botellones came into force. This means fines for minor infringements will go from €60 to €100, while more serious complaints will increase from €100 to between €300 y €600. In just the six days the measure has been in force, 747 complaints have been filed, at an average of 124 per day.
The ultimate goal is, according to Batlle, "not to have to impose any penalties", but knowing how hard this would be, for the moment he is content with the "prevention of botellones and act on those that have been formed". Thus, "the consumption of alcohol in the street in the context of a botellón will be considered a minor offence, and situations that result in "very serious disturbances" of coexistence "which can generate public order problems" will be considered major offences. Fines paid on the spot get a 75% reduction in the case of minor offenses and 50% in the case of serious offenses.
Nevertheless, Barcelona police superintendent Pedro Velázquez claimed that the situation at the beginning of August in terms of public safety is "positive", and added that "it is a normal summer, without big problems in terms of security". There have been about 2,000 fewer calls to 112 related to botellones compared to the same period of 2021. Even so, Velázquez has pointed out that "there are areas where problems persist, such as for example the area around Poblenou's clubs, which resists from a security point of view". The Guardia Urbana works with "preventive presence and from the point of view of authority", reinforcing its image to prevent the botellones in this area of Sant Martí.
Three mediation teams: noise, conflicts and information
The increase in penalties for botellones is in addition to the measures that approved to ensure civility and coexistence in the city, especially at night. For example, the closing time for ourdoor seating, bars and nightlife is being brought forward, as well as for food shops, in Acoustically Tensioned Night Time Zones (ZATHN), as is the case in Poblenou, Enric Granados or Ciutat Vella. In this sense, Batlle explained that there are three City Council mediation teams working for citizen coexistence: one for noise control, another for conflict management and the last one that works on the streets at night to raise awareness of "the importance of minimum standards of coexistence".
The City Council admits that the measures still need a long way to go in order to be sufficiently precise and improve coexistence, especially at night, and they value the cooperation between the nightlife sector, private security, the police and the administrations. Despite the fact that they have been approved just before the Gràcia and Sants festivities, the City Council expects the impact of the measures to made itself "felt" soon.