Dutch cops to carry machine guns in public

Dutch police Arrest team
File photo of a Dutch police arrest team (photo: Politie)File photo of a Dutch police arrest team (photo: Politie)

For the first time in Dutch history, police officers are allowed to patrol shopping malls, railway stations and other public places with machine guns. "Partly in response to the terrorist attacks with automatic firearms in France, the police decided to accelerate the training of marksmen and expand the deployment criteria of the monitoring units", a police spokesperson said to Dutch newspaper AD.

The National Police already has 300 specialized marksmen. In addition to that, they are accelerating the training of 150 officers in the use of sub-machine guns this year. Up until now these specialized officers were only deployed to guard buildings such a courts and the homes of threatened people, according to the newspaper.

These officers are equipped with an MP5 sub-machine gun in addition to their regular service weapon. The MP5 can hold more bullets and shoot much further than the regular service weapon. The current 300 specialist marksmen were also equipped with a new outfit, including helmets and heavy body armor.

The heavily armed police officers will be seen in full regalia for the first time on Tuesday. They will be guarding the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam, where dozens of European Justice and Home Affairs Ministers are meeting to discuss migration and security.

These heavily armed officers form part of the National Police's package of anti-terrorism measures. Other measures include Rapid Response teams driving around continually, ready to respond to an attack and community police officers keeping an eye out for radicalization.