Dutch police: charge firework throwers with attempted murder

If the Dutch police officers have their way, people caught throwing fireworks at police officers and other first responders will henceforth be charged with attempted murder. The police also want a ban on exploding fireworks and rockets, National Police chief Erik Akerboom said on Monday, NU.nl reports.

According to Akerboom, a recent study by TNO and the Police Academy on the effects of powerful fireworks reconfirmed the need for extra measures. The study confirmed that the explosive force of some firework types increase significantly oer past years. Some exploding fireworks can cause hearing damage at a distance of two meters. Others were able to break through police car windows and riot police helmets. 

Many police officers and other first responders reported an increasingly grim atmosphere during New Year's in the Netherlands. Akerboom sees the result of this study as confirmation of that. 

"Our image of the destructive power of certain fireworks is correct", Akerboom said, according to the newspaper. "We simply are no longer able to protect our people and animals, as well as other helpers and  citizens, against them. It's really five minutes to midnight. That's why we are calling for a ban on exploding fireworks and rockets."

Akerboom is not alone in his call. The Public Prosecutor already considers some cases of thrown fireworks to be attempted murder. And the social support for limiting the lighting of consumer fireworks also seemed to increase over the past years. 

Last year a petition to ban the lighting of consumer fireworks was signed by nearly 700 organizations. Most of the signatories were organizations for doctors and nurses, who deal with firework injuries every New Year, and animal welfare organizations. A number of political parties also signed, including GroenLinks, PvdD, 50Plus, SGP and local factions of the PvdA and D66.