Fourteen police precincts have been selected to participate in a one-year pilot project on the use of conducted electrical weapons, known as tasers, Interior Minister Jan Jambon said on Wednesday on VTM NIEUWS. Jambon, who is also Vice President, had announced in parliament in March his intention to equip local police with this weapon, classified as non-lethal but controversial. At the time, he had referred to a six-month pilot period in 15 precincts.
Since then, a framework was drawn up and an agreement worked out with the trade unions, according to the minister. The workers’ representatives are still insisting on modifying the legislation, but Jambon does not want this immediately.
“During the trial period, we shall verify whether the taser is not too dangerous and if a training is enough. Accidents can also happen with pepper spray or batons if they are not used properly,” the minister said. “Yet, they are not mentioned in the law. However, if the law needs to be amended, we’ll do so.”
Police officers may only use the taser after undergoing training.
The demand for the tasers among police precincts has been high. Belga news agency learnt from Minister Jambon’s cabinet that the 14 precincts selected were: Alost, Westkust, Limburg capital region, Bruges, Ostende, Anvers, the Zone Midi in Brussels, Brussels-West, the Police Boraine, Liège, Arlon/Attert/Habay/Martelange, Beloeil/Leuze-en-Hainaut, Mons-Quévy and Aiseau/Presles/Châtelet/Farciennes