Police officers who go on patrols with tasers also need to be equipped with defibrillators, various media on Tuesday reported police union spokesman Ruddy Callewaert as saying. “A taser can be a mortal danger if used on someone suffering from heart problems,” Callewaert was quoted as saying by Sudpresse, Het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen newspapers.
Tasers have been tested for many months now in 14 police districts. Not everyone agrees with their use since U.S. tests show that they are dangerous for people suffering from heart problems or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“That cannot always be seen from the face of the person about to be tasered,” added Callewaert. “That’s why we are launching an appeal for caution and ask for the teams to also be equipped with defibrillators.”
According to the police union, Sypol, the measure would also be financially feasible since a defibrillator costs 1,000 euros and tasers are used only in 14 police districts.
Sypol has sent a letter to Interior Minister Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance, N-VA) to inform him of the proposal. The minister stated that he would study it.
The taser has so far been used only once since the trial phase began. That was when a drunk man tried to strangle a policeman in the Gaume police district.