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Police Association Welcomes Authority to Employ Stun Guns

The Police Association of Iceland welcomes the Justice Minister’s decision to authorise the use of electroshock weapons. An article on Vísir this morning notes that there is no scientific consensus on the lethality of such weapons.

Helps to clarify the authority of the police

In an announcement on the Police Association of Iceland’s website yesterday, the association welcomed Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson’s decision to authorise the use of electroshock weapons. The association stated that it had, for years, emphasised the need to better ensure the safety of police officers. The decision was, therefore, a cause for celebration that the Minister had shown an understanding of the interests of police officers.

“Accidents at work occur most frequently within the police profession, and it is common for a police officer to be alone on the scene and have to deal with challenging and unforeseen situations where further assistance is not always at hand.”

The Minister’s decision helps to clarify the authority of the police, contributing to increased security for police officers and, at the same time, “increased security for ordinary citizens,” the announcement reads.

Difficult to pinpoint the precise cause of death

The minister’s decision to authorise the use of electroshock weapons has proven somewhat controversial, with PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir stating that she had wished that the new regulation had received a more thorough discussion within Parliament.

An article published on Vísir this morning notes that there is no consensus among experts on the lethality of these weapons. The reporter notes that the reason is twofold: first, scientific ethics make research impossible, and second, cause of death has proven difficult to disentangle following the employment of stun guns.

“According to an extensive report conducted by Reuters from 2017,” the article notes, “over a thousand people died as a result of the employment of stun guns in the United States over a period of approximately fifteen years. In nine out of ten cases, the person was unarmed.”

“Reuters reporters reviewed 712 autopsy reports in connection with their investigation. In 153 cases, forensic pathologists concluded that the shot from the stun gun had been the cause or one of the causes of the person’s death. When the stun gun was not considered a factor, the cause of death was usually attributed to heart disease or other illness, drug use, or an accident.”

The article also notes that independent studies have “shown that stun guns can be useful in reducing injuries to police and those on whom the guns are used.” These weapons should be “relatively safe” when they are applied in the right way, that is to say, when directed towards the right area of the body and when the electric shocks last for a short duration.

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