Speaking in parliament today, a Social Democrat MP encouraged Minister of Justice Ragna Árnadóttir to not allow police to use tasers, as the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has requested.
MP Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir pointed out that over 300 people have died in the United States in the past year due to injuries received from tasers, a supposedly less-than-lethal weapon. In the US, training of the use of tasers, and when they can be used, is often the responsibility of individual states or even individual police stations.
The Minister of Justice responded that this is a decision for the police themselves to make, but that she wanted the decision to be made in an informed manner.
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police wants special forces police to carry such weapons; not regular patrol police. As it is, policemen in Iceland do not carry tasers or firearms, but do have pepper spray. Only the “Viking Squad” – a special forces team, comparable to America’s SWAT – carry firearms. No decision on the tasers has yet been taken.
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