Enforcement of the fireworks ban was not a priority, police confirm

Enforcement was a low priority for the police in the municipalities where a fireworks ban was in force during New Year’s celebrations this year, various district police departments confirmed to ANP on Monday. Many police forces reported that supervision of the ban was mainly a matter for civilian street enforcement teams in different municipalities and that the high volume of emergency calls meant police only acted in fireworks cases in the most excessive situations.

Fireworks were not allowed this past weekend in 12 different municipalities. That number is expected to rise over the year, according to the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG). As long as there are no national regulations, “many more municipalities are guaranteed to follow with a local ban,” a VNG spokesperson said. Some 65 percent of the municipalities said in a survey earlier this year that they were in favor of a ban.

According to the police in the east of the Netherlands, it was “very quiet” during the turn of the new year and there was no reason to hand out fines. The police spokesperson even claimed that hardly any fireworks were set off in Nijmegen, Apeldoorn and Heumen, the three municipalities in the district with a fireworks ban.

But the mayors of Nijmegen and Apeldoorn did not agree with the police assessment. They claimed that there were many fireworks set off despite the ban.

The Rotterdam area police said that the ban was not enforced in Rotterdam and Schiedam. “This was a symbolic move; they knew that it could not be enforced. We only did that in case of excesses,” said a police spokesperson.

This decision also applied in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Bloemendaal and Heemstede. Enforcement took place when fireworks were thrown at police officers, emergency workers, or other people. A spokesperson for the Noord-Holland police district said this also included when people put themselves in harm’s way.

In Amsterdam, efforts were made to take action where possible, according to a spokesperson. “But it was busy, so we had to make choices.”

Just like the police in Amsterdam, the police unit for the central region of the Netherlands could not say whether fines were issued where a ban applied, in Soest and in Heuvelrug, Utrecht. “But we didn’t go looking specifically because we had other things to do.”

In Limburg, the police also did not issue fines between December 28 and January 2 for violating the fireworks ban in Mook and Middelaar. That also was not actively enforced, according to a spokesperson. “The priority was not there.”

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