SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch national police chief Erik Akerboom has written to MPs warning of major problems with the introduction of local New Year firework bans – as several cities are bringing in.
‘Maintaining public order will be more complex for my officers,’ the Telegraaf quoted the police chief as saying. Every year hundreds of people are injured and hundreds more arrested in the annual New Year firework frenzy.
Local authorities such as Rotterdam are introducing piecemeal bans based on safety concerns but according to the Telegraaf, the port city’s plans are so chaotic that Akerboom doubts public safety will be improved.
In addition, the measures which are now being taken are not enough to ensure police officers can do their jobs safely, Akerboom said. The police also want a nationwide ban on some types of fireworks, but MPs have decided that would be going too far.
The cabinet confirmed last year that it will not press ahead with a ban on firecrackers and rockets because the New Year fireworks are ‘a valued tradition’.
MPs are due to debate the issue on Wednesday. ‘There are no walls between areas where fireworks can be set off and areas where they are banned,’ police spokesman Ruud Verkruijlen said.
‘This will lead to a lack of clarity and possibly also to aggression.’ In addition, he said, in many local authorities the areas where fireworks are banned will be too big to police.