This week, officers had to go out three times in one night to report possession of firearms. Young men were held at gunpoint and a warning shot was fired. “Firearms” turned out to be gel weapons, in other words: fake weapons that shoot gel balls.
These gel weapons in and of themselves aren’t dangerous, says Rotterdam police chief Fred Westerbeek, “apart from the fact that you can get a ball like that in your eye.” But what matters is that people can confuse such weapons in public space with real ones, he says on WNL In de Kantine on NPO Radio 1. “And then we’re called in by interested citizens.”
My colleagues then err on the side of caution and approach those cars with adrenaline as if there were weapons, Westerbeek says. It also happened once that a warning shot was fired. In short, it creates very dangerous situations.
He continues: You see these kinds of disparities arise every time. We as police have to respond to that. Fortunately, my colleagues are good at it, so things don’t end badly in most cases.”
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Written by: Wessel Wierda
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