Contrary to popular belief, Dutch police are not using their weapons more often than in the past. Jaap Timmer, professor of police studies at the VU University in Amsterdam, says the figures for the past 35 years show that this is a misconception.
“When this claim is made they are usually referring to figures from 2005 and 2006, but in those years the number of people killed or injured by police firearms reached an historic low. So far this year, five or six people have been injured by police bullets.”
The average for the last 35 years is three dead and 15 injured. That is a normal number, according to Timmer, who has been doing extensive research into the use of force by police.
The number of fatalities fluctuates between one (in both 2005 and 2006) and seven (in 1986). The number of people injured varies between seven and 29.
The worst years were 1994 and 2001 when 30 people were either killed or injured by police firearms.