A'dam task force has 1 year to come with measures against hand grenades, ATM bombings

Police and explosive experts at a sisha lounge on Jan Evertsenstraat where a hand grenade was found tied to the door of a sisha lounge, 1 Feb 2019
Police and explosive experts at a sisha lounge on Jan Evertsenstraat where a hand grenade was found tied to the door of a sisha lounge, 1 Feb 2019Photo: @Politie_Adam / Twitter

Amsterdam is giving a task force established to combat violence and threats against business owners one year to come up with measures to combat this problem. The time limit is necessary because the number of ATM bombings and incidents involving hand grenades increased since last year. "The risks for entrepreneurs and local residents are unacceptable", mayor Femke Halsema said in a letter to the city council, AT5 reports.

The task force's task is to first map the problem of violence against entrepreneurs. It will then make an inventory of current measures, and identify shortcomings and bottlenecks in these measures. After that the task force will make recommendations for additional measures to be taken. Its final duty will be to monitor and report on the efficiency of these measures, according to the Amsterdam broadcaster. 

The task force consists of the Amsterdam mayor, police and Public Prosecutor, though it can also consult with the Tax Authorities and the Ministry of Security and Justice for input. It also has access to experts and private partners. The city gave the task force a year, with the possibility of one extension. An interim evaluation will happen in six months' time.

Amsterdam has a major problem with explosives used to rob ATMs and intimidate business owners. Last week an ATM bombing caused major damage on the corner of Postjesweg and Columbusstraat. And the police recently released footage showing the devastation such a bombing caused at Ganzenhoef subway station in Amsterdam Zuidoost in March

Hand grenades and other explosives are also increasingly left at Amsterdam businesses, presumably to intimidate the business owners. In April five hand grenades were found in the city, three of which on one street. On April 28th a hand grenade was removed from coffeeshop Siberia on Brouwersgracht. Over the weekend of April 20th and 21st, two hand grenades were left at coffeeshop New Times on Spuistraat. On Friday April 19th, a hand grenade was found on Eerste Coehoornstraat in the center of Amsterdam. And on April 5th a hand grenade exploded at the Mad Fox club located underneath the W Hotel on Spuistraat. 

Late last year the then Amsterdam police chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg revealed that hand grenades can relatively easily be bought on the black market for as little as 5 euros a piece. 

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