More suspects of violence against Dutch emergency workers

Violence against emergency workers
Violence against emergency workersPhoto: Politie Dordrecht / Facebook

The number of people suspected of violence against people with a public duty, like police officers, firefighters and paramedics, increased by nearly 20 percent last year. In 2017 a total of 8,964 people were suspected of verbally or physically attacking an emergency worker, compared to 7,502 the year before, NOS reports.

59 percent of last year's cases involved verbal aggression, such as insults or threats. 35 percent involved physical violence, such as assault or public violence. Only 3 percent involved a serious crime like aggravated assault, murder or manslaughter, or attempts thereto. The rest involved many different crimes that rarely occur, like deliberately filing false charges, according to the broadcaster.

The Public Prosecutor can't give a concrete explanation for the sharp increase, but did say it does not necessarily mean that actual violence against emergency workers increased so much. The implementation of a better registration system early in 2015 may also play a role, according to the Prosecutor.

Two thirds of 2017's cases of violence against emergency workers ended up in court. One in five ended in a settlement. In general the Public Prosecutor demands twice as harsh a punishment in cases involving violence against aid workers. If it happened during an event like New Year's, the punishment demands are even harsher.