PARENTS could face steep penalties if their children are caught drinking in the street, warned Madrid police chief after a spate of recent incidents involving the botellon.
Police across Spain are reporting that botellones – the Spanish word to describe people (usually youths) gathering on public streets and squares to drink alcohol and socialise – are becoming an increasing problem as young people let their hair down following the end Covid restrictions on socializing.
Now Madrid authorities want to give police special powers not only to fine parents whose children are caught in a botellon, but to charge them with neglect or abandonment.
Jose Luis Morcillo, Commissioner of Policia Municipal in Madrid, said parents could find their legal guardianship challenged if their underage offspring are found drunk at street parties.
“If we find someone underage in an intoxicated stupor we are going to call the parents for an explanation, We will inform the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the judge and they could be convicted of the crime of abandonment,” Morcillo said in an interview with TeleMadrid.
“It could lead to a fine, or in the worst case scenario that parents could lose guardianship and the child taken into care,” he explained.
His warning came after a bank holiday weekend that saw police clash with youths when they tried to disperse mass botellones taking place in Madrid’s Parque Oeste.
Over the long weekend, a puente to mark Spain’s National Day on October 12, Madrid police issued over 1,100 fines for alcohol consumption on public roads and made 106 arrests.