Police tighten rules on shooting at vehicles in wake of Mawda case

Police tighten rules on shooting at vehicles in wake of Mawda case
Credit: Belga

Police are tightening rules on shooting at a moving vehicle in the wake of the Mawda case, various media report on Monday.

Mawda was a two-year-old girl who was killed when a police officer fired his gun during a chase of a van carrying over 20 people including Mawda and her family. The officer was convicted to a one-year suspended prison sentence on Friday.

The officer had said that he had intended to aim at the van’s tyre, but that the bullet was deflected when the van collided with the police vehicle.

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The 2015 police manual on the pursuit and interception of vehicles described the risks of shooting at tyres but also stated that trying to aim at one or more tyres is the only way to brake a vehicle on the road and force it to stop.

The manual also included a picture of how to shoot a tyre correctly. However, the guide contradicted a note from the road police directorate issued earlier.

Police have since adapted the manual in line with the note, confirm the police and the Ministry of the Interior.

"We have removed the illustration and reinforced the message about the risk of shooting at a vehicle on the road,” said a police spokesman. The adaptations to the manual were made on 1 October 2020. The principle now is not to shoot at a vehicle on the road, except in exceptional circumstances.

A new training module on "pursuit and interception" is also planned.

The Brussels Times

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