Cops faced more violence over New Year's than reported, central works council says

Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)

Police officers faced much more violence aimed against them over New Year's than the official figures show, the police's Central Works Council said after extensive investigation. Of the over 3,400 police officers that participated in the council's survey, 326 said they were confronted with one or more forms of violence, ranging from verbal threats to physical violence, ANP reports.

The police initially reported that there were 59 incidents of violence against police officers over New Year's, but later updated that figure to 82 after more reports came in

"We already had a strong suspicion that the previously published figures were not complete", Central Works Council chairman Rob den Besten said to the news wire. "Around 6,500 people worked over New Year's. Of our respondents, there are already 326 who were confronted with violence. The actual number will therefore be higher." Not all the officers who worked on New Year's were surveyed, and some were faced violence more than once.

Many of the respondents said they did not report violent incidents. They think it is part of the job, or did not consider the incident serious enough to report. "I do not think we should want that", Den Besten said. "I therefore make an urgent appeal to the responsible ministers, the chief of police and politicians, but certainly also the colleagues. You cannot call a partly like New Year's a party with these consequences."

According to the Central Works Council, there needs to be a "fundamental reconsideration" of New Year's, "so that we can keep this tradition safe and festive". The council wants a structural solution in which officers and other emergency workers can report violence quickly and easily. First responders must also be equipped with safety equipment like safety glasses and hearing protectors, according to the Council. The Central Works Council hopes to have these measures in place by the coming New Year's. 

Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security will speak with emergency workers on Monday and Tuesday about "how they experience New Year's", he said, according to ANP. He finds it important that all incidents of violence against them be reported. "Together we will look for additional measures", he said.