The Belgian government has decided to extend the test phase of electric pulse pistols – or tasers – until June 2020, according to reports.
These non-lethal weapons have been tested since March 2017 in 22 police areas in Belgium, and have been used five times in that time.
Interest in taser guns for police has been reignited after the death of a man in Wevelgem on Wednesday, shot dead by a police officer after the man attacked one of his colleagues with a screwdriver.
“Two police officers tried to control the man,” the office of the public prosecutor explained, “but the individual immediately became very aggressive,” rushing at the police and threatening them with the screwdriver.
The officers then “tried to stop him with pepper spray, but he wounded one of them with his screwdriver in the face and torso,” the OPP added. “The other policeman then pulled out his weapon and fired.”
If the agents had been equipped with tasers, some people believe they could have avoided killing him, reports Belga.
“The Wevelgem incident proves that these pulse pistols must be deployed as quickly as possible everywhere. In France and the Netherlands, this is already the case,” says Nico Paelinck, chairman of the Standing Committee of the local police in the pages of the “Standaard”.
The Brussels Times