Dutch police are demanding better weapons and protection to deal with extreme violence from criminals and terrorists.
Police union ACP has written to justice minister Ivo Opstelten and police chief Gerard Bouman calling for heavier weaponry and more relaxed rules on using violence.
Recent events in France led to ‘innocent citizens and police officers being the victim of violent terrorists,’ ACP chairman Gerrit van de Kamp said in a statement. The union’s proposals are widely supported within the force, he said.
The union says operational strength needs to be increased by 2,000 people because so many police officers are on security duty.
There must also be more concerted efforts to stop organised weapons trading because this has not been a high enough priority in recent years. The number of police marksmen licenced to use automatic weapons in threatening situations should also be increased, the union says.
The number of incidents in the Netherlands involving extreme violence is rising, Van der Kamp said. ‘This could be a terrorist attack but gangland killings are also using extreme violence. Crime gangs are becoming increasingly violent in order to strengthen their positions.’
There have been no terrorist attacks in the Netherlands in recent years. However, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday that Amsterdam is included on a list of potential targets for lone wolves circulated by an IS propaganda unit.
The Dutch counter-terrorism unit said the message should be taken seriously but there is no reason for panic.
‘Every threat is looked at seriously but that does not mean that every threat is serious,’ the paper quoted a spokesman as saying.
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