First Dutch cops equipped with tasers early next year
More Dutch police officers will be equipped with tasers as early as next year, RTL Nieuws reported. The Cabinet decided in 2019 to supply 17,000 officers with the electroshock weapon, causing a great deal of controversy.
Police officers will first be obliged to undergo a three-day training course. During the training, special attention will be paid to minimizing health risks when using the tool. The police also confirm that the tender for the weapons has been completed. The law still needs to be amended before they are officially put in use.
The weapon uses an electrical charge to temporarily disable a person. Tasers are used by trained officers when dealing with a violent offender who is some distance away. The Dutch police have lobbied for years to be allowed to expand use of the weapon to a wider range of officers. According to them, tasers can be safely used to subdue violent offenders and prevent potentially dangerous situations from escalating.
However, a report titled “A Failed Experiment: The Taser-Pilot of the Dutch Police” was published by Amnesty International in 2018. The report showed that police regularly used tasers in situations where there was no threat to life or risk of serious injury during the pilot project.
"Since 1 February 2017, the Dutch police have been experimenting with the use of the Taser X2 in day-to-day policing. The way they use these electro-shock weapons poses unacceptable health risks," Amnesty International stated.
The weapons were drawn 177 times in 2019, and used 65 times. The previous year police officers pulled out a taser on 170 different occasions, and fired them in 72 cases.
A budget of 30 million euros was earmarked for the purchase of the weapons and training of the police officers back in 2019.