Local firework bans only make New Year's enforcement more complex: Police Chief

The police are worried about enforcing local firework bans over New Year's and doubt whether these bans contribute to safety, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom said in a letter to parliament. "Maintaining public order is becoming a lot more complex for my people", he said in the letter, the Telegraf reports.

According to Akerboom, the measures that are currently being taken are not enough to protect his people against the risks that the New Year's Eve celebrations traditionally bring. He called the maze of firework-free areas municipalities implement in an attempt to make New Year's safer an "unclear patchwork of enforcement arrangements". 

Ruud Verkuijlen, in charge of the police file on Violence Against Police Officers, agrees with Akerboom. "There are no walls between the areas where you may and may not set off fireworks, This can lead to uncertainty on the street. And possibly also aggression", he said to the Telegraaf. He worries that municipalities will create firework bans that are "too extensive" to enforce. And banning fireworks in the entire municipality will only shift the problem to other municipalities, he said. "Those effects are unpredictable", Verkuijlen said.

Earlier this year the police argued in vain for certain types of fireworks to be banned, because police officers and other first responders are often bombarded with them over New Year's. When the government refused to do so, Akerboom decided to take measures himself. This year 17 thousand police officers will be equipped with special hearing protection over New Year's. They can also report violence against them through their phones. 

The police will carry the costs involved in these measures, Verkuijlen said to the newspaper. 

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of parliament, will discuss the coming New Year's on Wednesday.