The Dutch national police force is to set up a special group of around 25 lawyers to defend police officers who use their guns, police chief Gerard Bouman says in Thursday’s AD.
The lawyers will go on patrol with the police and undergo firearms training so they are better equipped to deal with such cases.
‘I want them to understand what it is to shoot and to take a split second decision,’ Bouman said. He told the paper he is not happy with the legal support which police officers accused of wrongly using their guns have had in the past.
On Wednesday two police officers were found guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter after shooting a man in the back but were not sentenced to any jail term because, the court ruled, they presumed they were in an emergency situation.
Last month, a police officer was given a two-year jail term for shooting a passenger in a getaway car after judges said there was no life-threatening situation. The victim recovered from his injuries.
‘I want a guarantee that only the best possible lawyers defend my people,’ Bouman said.
Bouman has also called for a change in the law so that police officers are not tried for ‘ordinary crimes’ such as manslaughter or grievous bodily harm but face a different legal regime.
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