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Curfew for young people in Béziers

Hérault town becomes the latest to impose summer night-time street ban on children

CHILDREN will be subject to a summer curfew in the Hérault town of Béziers.

New mayor Robert Ménard has ordered that - between June 15 and September 15 - no child aged 13 or under should be out on the streets between the hours of 11pm and 6am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, unless accompanied by an adult. The order will be extended to all evenings during school holidays.

The town’s mayor, who was backed by the Front National in the recent elections, told Le Figaro: “The idea is to empower adults to not let their children go out alone at night.”

Police officers who find a child out alone - particularly in two “sensitive” areas of the town - during the hours of the curfew will either take them home, or to a police station, to be picked up by their parents.

No other punishments have yet been planned, but further sanctions will be considered to deter repeat offenders, the mayor said.

Curfews for young people are nothing new in France. In 2010 MPs discussed night-time street bans for children . The Alpes-Maritimes resort of Nice was the first major city in France to impose such a ban in 2009.

They are now a regular summer occurrence in several towns and cities across the country, including Essonne, as Brunoy and Etampes, as authorities seek to avoid late-night public order disturbances at a time of year when children often stay up later.

At Antibes, and Cagnes-sur-Mer, UMP mayors Jean Leonetti and Louis Negro consider themselves pioneers after first introducing similar measures early in the 21st century.

Meanwhile, the Tarn town of Mazamet first imposed a curfew in July 2009. It will be renewed again this summer.

Until 2010, curfews could only be limited to specific areas of a town and any application had to be justified according to a strict set of criteria. For the past four years, however, mayors have been able to impose curfews for young people between 11pm and 6am when being on the street at night without accompanied by a parent “would expose them to an obvious risk to their health, safety, education or morality.”

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