Sunday 26 January 2020

More violent incidents at New Year, but fewer people are arrested

Fireworks caused millions of euros worth of damage.Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch police registered over 9,300 incidents of arson, vandalism and attacks on emergency service workers during the New Year festivities, according to official figures published on Friday.

The total is up some 380 on 2018. Nevertheless, the number of arrests fell slightly to 300 and over the long term, the number of incidents is going down.

Five years ago there were twice as many arrests as in 2019 and the number of registered ‘incidents’ has fallen by 25%. During the 2014/15 New Year festivities there were 12,000 incidents and some 640 people were taken into custody.

Despite the decline in official statistics, police say the real picture is different and violence is increasing in intensity.

Police chief Erik Akerboom last week renewed his calls for a ban on larger consumer fireworks after reporting that there was a slight rise in the number of incidents requiring emergency service intervention this year.

Akerboom called for the current free-for-all to be replaced by large, organised firework displays and for heavier sentences for people who attack the police, fire brigade and ambulance workers.

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