The Social Democrats on Tuesday backed a proposal from the populist Danish People's Party to empower the police to ban young asylum seekers from leaving their accommodation centres as a punishment for misbehaviour.
"These are young people under 18 years old. I therefore see nothing wrong in imposing an exit ban on them," Trine Bramsen the party's spokesman, told Denmark's DR broadcaster.
Her comments came after five boys of between 14 and 17 years old from Tullebølle asylum centre were charged for sexual misdemeanours committed at the nearby Langeland festival on the island of Funen. Three were charged with groping, and two for raping a 16-year-old girl.
Martin Henriksen, the DPP’s immigration spokesman, told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper last week that police needed to have some way of punishing young asylum seekers.
“The police should be allowed to issue exit bans on the centers if they believe that there is a need for it, until they can get to grips with the situation," he said.
Henriksen proposed the ban for asylum seekers under the age of 18, but Bramsen said she saw no reason why over-18-year-olds could not also be confined.
She said it was “completely unreasonable" to let young refugees who misbehaved to move freely in society.
“These young people will have to learn the Danish rules of the game - also when it comes to the opposite sex,” she said. "What we have seen at Langeland is simply unreasonable and must be stopped."
Denmark’s immigration minister Inger Støjberg meanwhile on Tuesday refused calls to set up special high-security centres for troublesome immigrants, arguing that it would be better to split up the most difficult cases.
“I do not think it would be the best solution to gather them all at one centre,” Støjberg said. “I think it is much better to split them up, so they cannot run around in gangs.”