From Iceland — Icelandic Police To Carry Tasers

Icelandic Police To Carry Tasers

Published May 21, 2024

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Police / Photo: HMH

Nearly 500 police officers have completed basic training in using tasers, which will soon be put into use in the country, reports RÚV.

The aim is to deploy tasers in Iceland by the end of summer. The training of police officers, which includes virtual reality sessions, is now concluding.

“Of course, there is stress the first time you shoot something new and try something new. But it went beyond expectations and we had received good training,” says one police trainee after using the weapon for the first time. They had previously practised shooting a training taser with a plastic projectile instead of a needle.

According to the National Commissioner of the Police, about a quarter of police officers feel rather or very unsafe at work. A vast majority — around 90% of officers — support the police carrying tasers while on duty.

The special forces responded to many more armed call-outs last year than the years before and the number of cases where regular police need to arm themselves increased — last year they were 72 but 40 the year before.

“This tool is an addition to our tool belt and serves as an intermediate step between the baton and gas up to firearms. In certain situations, this weapon can make a big difference, allowing us to avoid using firearms and instead use this weapon. These are significant and critical decisions we need to make, and we are training our people for this,” says Guðmundur Ásgeirsson, Deputy Chief of Police at the Police Education and Training Center.

183 million ISK investment

The use of the new weapon will be closely monitored. “When the weapon is drawn, it logs how it is oriented — whether it is vertical or horizontal. If it is turned on, that is logged along with the time. It also logs when a warning tone is given, when it is fired, and when the current is applied. So, all of this is logged in the weapon and centrally stored,” says Guðmundur.

A five-year contract was made to purchase the weapons, amounting to over 183 million ISK. In total, 160 tasers will be purchased— initially 120, followed by ten per year for the next four years.

Police officers go through various exercises before training with the actual weapons. Virtual reality is among the tools used in training. Grétar Már Þorgilsson, a police officer, tried virtual reality for the first time and found it very useful for training. “I’ve been in this field for a long time and have never used virtual reality before. But it’s going well and is very fun,” he says.

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