Tuesday, 30 December 2014 - 09:05
Angered police chief warns against attacking officers
"Aid workers such as police officers must not bear the brunt of out of control misconduct. Colleagues who are nevertheless confronted with violence can count on maximum support from the organization." said Chief Constable Gerard Bouman of the National Police regarding the rising trend of violence against officers during the turning of the year. Every year police officers and other emergency workers bear the brunt of violence during December 31st and January 1st. Last year the police recorded 138 incidents in which colleagues were the victims of violence during that time. The police and Public Prosecutor has firm policies in the area of aggression and violence against police officers and other emergency workers. The police always investigate such cases with the highest priority. The Public Prosecutor's policy aims to require considerably heavier penalties. The Public Prosecutor already applies a weighting factor of 200 percent when it comes to cases of violence against people with public duties (police officers, ambulance personnel, fire brigade) and will apply an extra weighting factor of 75 percent on cases relating to New Year's. This means that assaulting a police officer could lead to a 275 percent heavier penalty, depending on circumstances. There will be thousands of extra officers on the streets during New Year's. Bouman himself will be among them. He worries about the safety of his people, especially because of the heavy illegal fireworks in circulation. "Take for example the cobras. Those are fireworks with the force of a hand grenade. I've seen videos in which a car was blown up with this firework." Despite the intensive approach, the number of incidents against officers and other emergency workers are not decreasing. Bouman has no ready solution for the increasing violence during New Year's. "It is a social problem. How is it that a decent, normal family that gives no trouble all year and then suddenly goes off on New Year's? Violence against ambulance staff barely occurred ten years ago, but now we are finding it almost normal." Bouman hopes for more public involvement this year. "By joining forces, we make a stand against aggression and violence. Police officers work de-escalating when they can. But if it must, our agents step forward. We do not stay away from confrontation."