The Minister of Justice has decided to authorise the use of electroshock weapons among the police. Clear rules will be set for their application and police officers will receive special training, RÚV reports.
An unfortunate but necessary measure
Over the past few months, the Ministry of Justice has reviewed the possibility of authorising the use of electroshock weapons among police authorities.
“We’ve reviewed the use of these weapons in neighbouring countries and have found that they have proven a great success,” Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson told RÚV this morning. “As a result of this review – which has been ongoing, as I’ve reported to the media – we’ve decided to implement their use in Iceland, especially considering that police departments and police officers have called for it.”
Jón noted that it was unfortunate that such a step “needed to be taken.” Given the state of affairs, however, it was imperative to ensure the safety of police officers, who have observed a growing threat from the use of weapons in Iceland. The frequency of accidents involving police officers has been on the rise.
Jón maintained that the use of electroshock weapons in neighbouring countries had significantly reduced the number of accidents involving police officers and suspects alike. In light of this, the Minister of Justice plans on amending regulations to authorise their use.
When asked about the hazards of such an amendment, Jón replied that every weapon came with its risk: “But we believe that that risk, when it comes to bodily harm, is not as great when compared to the resources that the police currently have at their disposal, such as batons.”
Jón added that strict and clear rules would be set regarding the use of electroshock weapons, noting that the latest models were equipped with cameras that would make their employment easy to monitor. Furthermore, Jón noted, experience had shown that it was often “enough that the weapons were available,” although they did not always need to be used, for there to be an effect. He expects that the police authorities could begin using these weapons as early as the middle of next year, although such a thing would depend on contractual bids and the training of police officers.
When asked if there was a consensus about this amendment within the government, Jón responded thusly: “It’s not been discussed formally. But I have, of course, discussed this repeatedly in the media over recent months and announced that preparations were underway. We’re at a turning point now.”