Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has asked the justice ministry to investigate if the city’s police officers can be equipped with paintball guns to make sure confrontations do not end in in serious harm or casualties, local broadcaster Rijnmond reports.
The request was prompted by serious rioting in November last year in which police were pelted with stones and fireworks and fired directly at the rioters. Several people suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to hospital.
Aboutaleb condemned the incident, in which 20 people were arrested, as ‘an orgy of violence’ at the time.
Police union ACP had already asked the authorities to add non-lethal weapons to officers’ arsenal and is conducting its own investigation into the feasibility of the plan.
The use of paintball guns would be a first for the Dutch police force. In Belgium special police units already use paintball guns as a way to identify and arrest suspects without harming them. However, a hit with a paintball gun can be painful, experts say.
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