More violent incidents against Dutch cops

Police officer being treated by a paramedic
Police officer being treated by a paramedic. (Photo: Politie)

Last year there were 10,593 incidents of violence against police officers in the Netherlands, the police said in a statement. That is a significant increase compared to the 9,101 violent incidents Dutch cops faced in 2017.

Incidents ranged from being insulted or threatened to being physically assaulted. According to the police, the most incidents happened during unplanned arrests (3,030 incidents) and while working with the nightlife crowds (2,431 incidents). The violence is not attributable to certain perpetrator groups, the police said.

"We do see that police officers experience a fair amount of aggressive behavior on the street", said Ruud Verkuijlen, who is in charge of the portfolio on violence against police officers. "The figures also show that police officers, especially during festivities and in entertainment areas, are increasingly confronted with violence against themselves. The same applies to aggression and violence during an arrest. Often alcohol and drugs are involved and we see that people have a short fuse." New Year's in particular is always a night filled with violence for police officers

Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security announced that he is working on banning community service sentences against people accused of using violence against a police officer or other people with a public task. This crime must always be punished by prison. Community service can still be given, but only in combination with a prison sentence. 

Verkuijlen called this bill a step in the right direction. "We look with interest at the outcome", he said. "We believe that aggression and violence against police officers must be over. Just let police officers do their important work. Imposing dissuasive punishments can contribute to this."

The Police's Central Works Council is also positive that the Minister is proposing more severe penalties in an effort to stop violence against police officers and other aid workers. "The violence against aid workers must really stop", chairman Rob den Besten said. "Penalties can help, but certainly also the social debate. In addition, we as Central Works Council want to make reporting easier. Then the real numbers will become more visible. We have seen with the outcome of dialogues that police officers do not report for various reasons. That should be easier."

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