Police against arming enforcement officers

Police
Police. (Politie)

If it is up to the police, enforcement officers will not be armed. The police want to cooperate more and better with enforcement officers, but "the monopoly on using force, that remains with the police as far as the police are concerned", National Police Chief Erik Akerboom wrote in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, RTL Nieuws reports.

Earlier this month the Dutch enforcers' union NBB called for all enforcement officers to be armed with pepper spray, a baton and a bodycam. The enforcers are particularly worried about New Year's and the increasing number of firework-free zones they have to enforce "Enforcers do not have enough resources to maintain order and defend themselves. Therefore they run too much risk when they are faced with fireworks and violence", the union said. 

But the police are against arming enforcement officers. "The monopoly on force belongs to the police. It is a distinguishing criterion in the cooperation with our partners. That is a position of principle that we adhere to", Akerboom said in his letter to the Kamer.

He shares te concerns about the safety of enforcers, but thinks that these concerns can largely be addressed through better cooperation. "In the coming period we will look at how we can intensify the cooperation. For example through more and better information sharing, by giving enforcers access to police locations and to our business process systems."

The Netherlands counts around 23,700 enforcement officers, according to RTL. Most of them work in public transport or as municipal enforcers. Over 4 thousand enforcers are equipped with handcuffs, a few hundred have batons, pepper spray or a firearm. 

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