Dutch police will soon be armed with “surge weapons” similar to tasers. This decision was long-awaited by the the Chief of Police, Akerboom.
NOS reports that according to de Telegraaf, sources in The Hague have made it known that the cabinet has decided to arm 17,000 police officers with the tasers. This decision comes after years of experiments. In September, Minister Grappenhuis said that the introduction of the taser would be a good thing, but that the decision needed to be made with care. It seems that this has now been done.
Cabinet allocates 30 million euros to introduction of tasers
The cabinet will allocate funding of 30 million euros to the introduction of the tasers, which will include the training of police officers, the production of the tasers, and the tendering procedure to decide which company will be allowed to produce the weapons. It will take about five years for all 17,000 officers to be trained and armed with the tasers.
Police experiencing more violence from the public
Akerboom argued that the tasers would be very useful for police officers, who experience increasing levels of violence from the public. Being able to use these weapons to defend themselves would be very useful. Akerboom has complained that the decision process was taking far too long in general.
Health risks of tasers as yet unclear
However, there are good reasons to be concerned. Amnesty International, the human rights protection organisation, has questioned the use of the weapons as their health risks are as yet unclear. Furthermore, the use of these shock weapons on psychiatric patients has yet to be decided. According to Akerboom, the potential health risks of the weapons are “manageable”.
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Feature image: Politie Nederland/Wikimedia Commons