Police investigate fault in text message emergency alert system

The police are investigating what went wrong with the emergency text message alert system ahead of the Ajax Manchester United football match, after some people received up to six warnings telling them to stay away from Amsterdam.

The message read ‘Emergency, extremely serious warning. Don’t come to Amsterdam. The inner city is full. Watch Ajax somewhere else’ and was sent out after police feared too many people were trying to pack into Museumplein to watch the game on big screens.

Police had calculated a further 15,000 to 20,000 people were heading to Amsterdam. ‘Then public safety could have been at risk,’ spokesman Leo Dortland told broadcaster NOS.

The fact many people got multiple messages is a fault in the system and that is now being looked into, Dortland said.

The message was also sent out to most of the country, leading people to accuse the police of over-reacting. The NLAlert system is supposed only to be used in cases of national emergency, such as a terrorist attack or major fire or in case of extreme weather conditions.

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