Dutch police chief Erik Akerboom has called on ministers to include electronic stun guns, or tasers, in the regular police kit immediately.
‘Introduce it,’ Akerboom is quoted as saying in the Telegraaf. ‘Things are taking too long. Politicians must act, especially since the recent spate of violent attacks on officers.’
His comments follow the attack on a police officer in Rotterdam last weekend, who had warned a bridal car procession about the noise it was making.
‘As police officers, we are increasingly being forced to exert our authority,’ Akerboom said. ‘People do not want to have their behaviour corrected.’ Politicians, he said, must take action to stem the increase in attacks on the police and that the taser would be a part of that.
Last November, police officials told the justice ministry that electric shock weapons such as tasers should become part of the equipment used by police officers on emergency service duty, but the minister has not yet taken a decision.
If approved by the minister, this would mean electric stun guns would be made available to all police teams which are called out on emergencies. It will take five years before the introduction because 17,000 officers need to undergo special training to use the weapons, police said at the time.
In June 2018, a report on a year long trial by the police academy found that tasers do have ‘added value’ for the police. Since the start of the trail in February 2017, tasers have been drawn 343 times and in 62% of cases, the threat of use was enough to calm the situation down, the report states.
Tasers work by firing electric charges of around 50,000 volts at a suspect from a distance, temporarily disabling them. Police say the danger of serious or permanent injury is minimal, but experts disagree on the risk to the heart.