Police chief under fire over beach shooting

The police chief in charge of policing last month’s beach party at which a 19-year-old youth was shot dead, is largely to blame for the way the event erupted into violence, according to a preliminary report

The senior officer acted in a ‘routine way’ and was not sufficiently ‘alert and sharp’, police commissioner Dick Schouten of the Midden and West Brabant force says in a note on his early findings.
‘At the moment the operational leadership came under pressure, there was no more control,’ the report said. ‘It is thanks to the initiative and professional approach of a large number of experienced colleagues that the situation did not become more serious.’
One youth was shot dead and six others were injured when police officers began discharging warning shots at the crowd. They had come attack from a large group of youths who are said to have come to the free event to cause trouble.
Information that hooligans were planning to attend the party had been received the day before but was not passed on to senior officers either, the report said.
Schouten’s report also states that there were considerable problems with police communicatons equipment which overloaded after the first shots were fired. At one point there was no mobile phone contact between officers, the Volkskrant reported.
Gerrti van de Kamp, the chairman of police union ACP, told the Telegraaf the preliminary report raised many questions. For example, the festival had a licence for 15,000 people but when the organiser said in May he expected 28,000 would turn up, why did the council not amend the licence? he asked.
‘The doubling in visitor numbers had major consequences for public safety,’ he said. In addition, it is still not clear why riot police had not been put on standby.
Rotterdam city council is due to debate the preliminary findings this evening. A more far-reaching investigation is also under way.

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