SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch police fired their guns in just 16 incidents last year, resulting in four deaths and 12 injuries, according to new figures. In 2018, police were involved in 27 shootings and also four deaths, and there was a similar pattern in previous years.
The public prosecution department said it had no explanation why the police were involved in fewer shootings last year. All incidents in which the police shoot or injure someone using their weapons are reviewed by a specialist police unit.
However, lobby group Control Alt Delete, which monitors police-related violence, said three other people died while being arrested and a further arrestee committed suicide.
The group says these incidents should also be included in the police death total. At the same time the police published new figures showing police have been dealing with an increasing amount of violence directed at them since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis at the end of February.
In particular, the number of spitting incidents was higher in the early weeks of the crisis, the report said. The police have also been called out to deal with more disputes between neighbours and noise issues.
The figures also show 51 police officers were the victims of ‘serious physical aggression’ last year, double the 2018 total. However, the total number of incidents, ranging from insulting behaviour to being attacked with fireworks, remained relatively stable.