Police used force 18,500 times last year, including 78 shootings
The police used force more often last year than in 2020. Police officers used force 18,477 times, about 2,000 more than in 2020. "The effect of the coronavirus era on society, and therefore or the police violence figures," the police said in a statement.
The use of force encapsulates all instances in which police officers used their firearm, baton, pepper spray, or physical violence. The police noted that police officers responded to a total of almost 15 million incidents last year, so incidents of cops using force were relatively rare.
In total, police officers used 35,822 means of violence last year. Physical violence was most common at 55 percent. Cops used their firearms 2,861 times, or 8 percent of the total. This mainly involved aiming the gun at a suspect. In 78 cases, the police actually fired a shot. "Also striking is the increased use of the long baton, water cannon, teargas, and deployment of the mounted police." This increase can be explained by the many demonstrations in which the police intervened last year.
"For three years now, we have unambiguously registered our use of force nationally. This enables us to better assess how the use of force went, whether it went well and whether we would use it again the next time," said police chief Frank Paauw. Last year, the use of force by 2,279 police officers was assessed. 90 percent acted professionally and within the law. There was evidence of non-professional conduct with 231 officers, and measures were taken.
Each police unit has a committee that reviews incidents in which officers used a firearm or when more than minor injuries occurred. This committee advises the police chief on whether disciplinary or criminal measures need to follow. "Society must be able to trust that the police use force professionally," Paauw said.
Reporting by ANP.