Seized fireworks not stored safely by Dutch authorities: report

The Dutch police do not always keep to safety regulations when it comes to storing confiscated illegal fireworks, Omroep Brabant reports based on its own research. Officers often don't have the proper training and the cabinets used to store dangerous bangers do not meet the safety requirements. This already led to dozens of incidents, according to the broadcaster.

The police previously stated that the fireworks they seize are increasingly dangerous, which means that the storage cabinets also need to adhere to increasingly stringent rules. But according to documents in the hands of Omroep Brabant, this is not the case. New storage cabinets have been placed in a few places in the country, but most police stations still work with the old cabinets. "Especially the temporary safe storage of heavy, illegal fireworks is a constant concern and requires substantial investment and a proper storage system." te documents read. 

The registration of seized fireworks also seems to be a problem. According to Omroep Brabant, the Zeeland-West-Brabant corps was reprimanded on this subject by the Environment Department Midden- and West-Brabant in 2013. That reprimand states that the Breda police station Mijenbroek had a 580 grams Cobra stored at the station. That is one of the most dangerous fireworks. Bangers of that caliber should be stored in the national collection bunker in Ulicoten, according to the broadcaster. A four years old audit report of the environment service also shows that not all transport documents have a registration number and in some files there is not even a class identification on the fireworks. 

Another problem the police face is training on how to organize and package illegal fireworks for storage. The majority of involved agents seem never to have undergone training in this matter, according to the broadcaster. Over the past years the lack of proper training led to dozens of safety incidents at Ulicoten. Inaccurate estimations made by police officers resulted in poorly packaged or even banned fireworks, such as fireworks that have been tampered with, ending up in Ulicoten. 

In the run up to last year's New Year's, 34 safety incidents ere recorded at Ulicoten. Most had to do with incorrectly packaged fireworks. A police spokesperson assured Omroep Brabant that no one was seriously injured or maimed in these incidents.