Police chiefs and unions are calling for change to the way the Netherlands celebrates New Year following a string of attacks on emergency service workers during the festivities.
One police officer is seriously injured in hospital after someone deliberately drove into him in The Hague. In several other towns and cities, police, ambulance staff and fire officers were pelted with fireworks when responding to calls.
National police chief Erik Akerboom said on Twitter wants the most powerful type of fireworks to be banned and a complete rethink of the approach to violence against the police.
According to police figures, there were 79 attacks on police officers during this year’s celebrations, compared with 59 in 2016.
‘So much has been said and we have tried to do so many things, but it went wrong again,’ said Gerrit van de Kamp, head of the ACP police union. ‘Words alone don’t do the job. It is time for politicians to really take action and give us the tools we need.’
Justice minister Ard van der Steur has called the attacks unacceptable. ‘This is why the public prosecution department always calls for double sentences,’ he said.
According to police figures,7,114 incidents were registered during this year’s New Year celebrations, down over 500 on 2016. In total, 492 people were arrested, 10 more than in 2015/2016.
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