Special intervention units of the federal police have been ordered to carry out training exercises in future using replica weapons, following an incident where one officer was seriously injured in an exercise involving live ammunition. The order came down from federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon, as a result of an incident during training in Tienen in April when an officer was accidentally shot. The man has now been permanently invalided out of the service.
The officers involved were using their service weapons, but loaded with blanks. One trainee, however, had left a live bullet in his weapon, which injured his colleague.
“These training exercises are mainly intended to practice tactics and procedures,” Jambon said. “There’s no need to use real weapons for that.”
The new replicas have yet to be obtained, but will be made of plastic and replicates real weapons in every way, including weight. “These are exact copies of real weapons,” said a union spokesperson. Police unions support the measure. The training weapons will be simply unable to fire live rounds.
The change does not apply to practice sessions at shooting ranges, where firearms and ammunition will be live as before, Jambon’s office said.