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Belgian police begin experiment into use of Tasers

19:00 08/01/2018

Fourteen local police forces around Belgium have begun a one-year trial of Tasers, under a pilot project launched by interior minister Jan Jambon.

The year-long experiment could lead to Tasers being rolled out nationally. The weapon allows an officer to deliver an electric shock intended to disable someone resisting arrest. However, use of the weapons in other countries has led to fatalities.

Police union SLFP raised concerns about the introduction of Tasers last year, threatening to strike over the issue. The union said the use of such weapons is not covered by any legislation in Belgium - leaving the individual officer responsible alone for their actions.

Police in Charleroi refused to take part in the tests, wanting more legal clarity. "No risk analysis was put forward," said a Charleroi police spokesman. "We wanted to know what were the risks involved, and the cases in which we should not use it."

Mons-Quévy is one of the 14 police zones that agreed to the trial. "Using a firearm also has its potential legal problems," said local police chief Marc Garin. "I think we have to be daring. The risks, in my opinion, are minimal."