Fewer serious incidents during New Year festivities, says justice minister

BOERDERIJ AFGEBRANDT HOLWIERDEThe emergency services had to deal with fewer incidents during the New Year celebrations compared with previous years, justice minister Ivo Opstelten said on Thursday.

In addition, there has been a shift from ‘serious crimes’ to public nuisance incidents, Opstelten said.

Preliminary figures show police registered 8,236 incidents, a drop of 2% compared with January 1 last year. There were also fewer attacks on emergency service workers – 93 as opposed to 108 last year, Opstelten said.

‘The downward trend is the right direction but of course I am still not satisfied,’ Opstelten said. ‘What has happened is unacceptable.’


Meanwhile, Alkmaar’s mayor Piet Bruinooge has called for a nationwide ban on fireworks, following a major fire in the town’s city centre.

Four buildings were destroyed and a further four seriously damaged in the blaze, which took hours to get under control and was probably caused by a firework.

Nevertheless, there is far from majority support for a ban in parliament, broadcaster Nos reported.

Elsewhere, two primary schools in the town of Uden were destroyed and the spire of a church in Zeeland collapsed after a blaze.

The fire brigade say they received reports of 4,253 fires during the festivities, down 25% on a year ago.

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