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Police Will Soon Carry Electroshock Weapons

Police in Iceland will be armed with electroshock weapons by the end of this summer. 464 officers are now completing their training in the use of the weapons, RÚV reports.

Minister sidestepped procedure

Icelandic police officers do not generally carry firearms, unlike in many other countries, although police vehicles are equipped with a gun. Last year, a change in regulation allowed officers to carry electroshock weapons. The Parliamentary Ombudsman subsequently found that Jón Gunnarsson, Minister of Justice at the time, should have consulted the cabinet before amending the regulation to arm the police. The decision was found to have not been in accordance with good governance.

Police feel unsafe at work

A quarter of police officers feel unsafe at work, according to the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police. 90% of officers are in favour of carrying electroshock weapons. The police responded to more arms-related incidents last year than in the years prior. “This tool is an important addition to our tool belt and is the step between clubs and gas before we get to firearms,” said Guðmundur Ásgeirsson with the police’s education division. “In certain situations, this weapon can make a difference, because we won’t have to resort to using firearms.”

The police have acquired 160 weapons and will double that amount in the next five years. The police claim that the weapons will be strictly monitored and officers have received training, including sessions in a virtual reality simulator.

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