Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson will meet with the National Federation of Icelandic Police (Landssamband lögreglumanna) and police commissioners to discuss the possibility of arming Icelandic police with tasers, RÚV reports. The Federation says tasers would not be useful in situations where the attacker is armed with a firearm. If tasers were introduced into the force, it would be according to strict regulations, the Minister stated.
Would not be used against guns
Two shootings occurred in Reykjavík this month, just days apart, sparking a conversation about whether Icelandic Police’s standard equipment of pepper spray and clubs is sufficient. Research shows that police officers, the government, and the general public are all of the opinion that firearms are not necessary for police. Still, the number of police cases involving weapons (both knifes and guns) has increased in recent years, leading the force to reconsider what should be included in standard equipment.
The National Federation of Icelandic Police stated in a press release that the discussion surrounding tasers is not directly linked to the two shootings, and that tasers would not be used in situations where attackers are armed with firearms. “However, such equipment must be investigated thoroughly to ensure police officers’ safety, but it should be borne in mind that such equipment will not be used when firearms are used,” the press release reads.
Read More: Two Shootings Cause Concern Among Reykjavík Residents
“This development is alarming and something we do not want to see continue. We want to try and put an end to this in our society. We enjoy a lot of security here in Iceland and we want to ensure that residents are safe. At the same time, we must ensure that police can respond appropriately, protect themselves and residents,” the Minister of Justice stated in a radio interview this morning. “We want to try and put an end to this in our society. We enjoy a lot of security here in Iceland and we want to ensure that residents are safe. At the same time, we must ensure that police can respond appropriately, protect themselves and residents. We are considering whether it might be appropriate to take the step of introducing these electric weapons, which have been used a lot abroad. Including in neighbouring countries.”
The Minister stated that tasers would help police officers avoid conflicts involving clubs, which are more likely to cause physical injury in arrests, according to some studies. The call to consider the use of tasers has come from the ranks of police, according to Jón. “I hear that and I am listening. I’m going to meet with them and afterwards, we will decide whether we take that step. And then we will do that according to very strict regulations.”