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At today's press conference, representatives of the police and of the Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for the Interior briefly presented changes brought by the new Explosive Substances and Pyrotechnic Products Act.

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Left to right: Janez Vidovi─Ź, Dr Viktor Strauch, Janez Ogulin and Nu┼íka Tav─Źar, Police Public Relations Officer

Janez Ogulin, Head of General Police at the General Police Administration, said that this year the police had continued with their activities aimed at preventing harmful consequences of the use of pyrotechnic products: "Each injury caused by pyrotechnic products is unnecessary. This is why this year we will continue activities aimed at preventing harmful consequences that may result from the use of pyrotechnic products. In co-operation with the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of Education and Sport, we have prepared posters and leaflets with questionnaires to be used by the neighbourhood police captains for presentation of this topic in schools." He stressed the importance of disseminating views on this topic. It is also important that people become aware of the consequences of unsafe use of pyrotechnic products and act towards ensuring maximum public safety.

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One of the most important provisions of the new Act, which entered into force last April, is classification of pyrotechnic products. According to Janez Vidovi─Ź, representative of the General Police at the General Police Administration, pyrotechnic products are now classified into fireworks (pyrotechnic articles for leisure), theatrical pyrotechnic articles and pyrotechnic articles for technical purposes. He added that the age limits for people to buy and use such products have also been revised: pyrotechnic products of category 1 may be used by juveniles above 14 years of age, pyrotechnic products of category 2 by juveniles above 16 years of age, while pyrotechnic products of category 3 may only be bought and used by those over 18 years of age. "The biggest change is that the sale, possession and use of pyrotechnic products creating an explosion are completely prohibited. This primarily refers to firecrackers. The reason for the prohibition is the fact that, each year, most persons are injured by firecrackers, especially those bought on the black market," Mr Vidovi? stressed.

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Dr Viktor Strauch, representative of the Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for the Interior, said that under the new Act, inspectors will perform regular inspections of explosive and pyrotechnic products at places of both storage and production, and may also take samples to carry out conformity assessment. Fines have also been increased: they amount to EUR 3,000 to 50,000 for legal entities, from EUR 1,000 to 20,000 for entrepreneurs and from EUR 400 to 1,200 for individuals." All supervisory bodies, including the Inspectorate for the Interior, the police, customs and the Market Inspectorate may impose fines within the range specified instead of the lowest amount of fine. This means even the highest fines in cases of a severe offence without mitigating circumstances," he added.

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After the press conference, captains of the neighbourhood police presented to children of the Pre┼żihov Voranc Elementary School problems in using pyrotechnic products and warned of the potentially tragic consequences of inconsiderate, incautious, careless or arrogant use. They also distributed questionnaires and other relevant materials to the pupils.

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