Some 17,000 Dutch police officers will be given a one-year training in the use of stun guns or tasers as part of their standard equipment starting from next year, police have announced.
The use of tasers, which work by firing electric charges of around 50,000 volts at a suspect from a distance, temporarily disabling them, is controversial but was given the go ahead by the justice ministry in 2019. The training will cost some €30m.
‘The taser is a valuable addition to the officers’ equipment. It can make our actions in threatening and dangerous situations safer and more effective,’ police chief Frank Paauw said. The weapon is meant to avoid the use of guns or excessive violence, he said.
Amnesty International has been particularly vocal in its protests against the use of tasers.
The organisation says the use of tasers can endanger lives, especially when used up close or repeatedly. It is calling for strict legislation for the use of tasers comparable to that for guns.
Paauw said the pilot schemes to test the use of tasers in practice have resulted in more attention to the health risks involved.
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