Ravage Webzine, 2 June 2013: 'UN committee critical of Dutch introduction of electric shock weapon'
"Geneva - The UN Committee Against Torture advises against the Dutch government making electric shock weapons available to the entire police force. Minister Opstelten wants to start a pilot in the first half of 2014.
Police arrest teams have been using electric shock weapons on a trial basis for years. Minister Opstelten now wants every officer to get his hands on them. The weapon delivers a short electric shock and temporarily paralyses muscles. The risk of injury would decrease for both the officer and the suspect. Yet there are reports from the United States that electric shock weapons can indeed cause injury and even kill an arrestee.
The taser is by no means uncontroversial. According to Amnesty International, it has caused 500 deaths in the US over the past decade. Amnesty is very concerned that electric shock weapons are currently being used worldwide without thorough, independent research into their effects being completed. The risk of the weapon being misused is quite high because it is light and easy to operate.
The UN Committee against Torture considers it irresponsible to equip the entire Dutch police force with electric shock weapons during the planned pilot in 2014 without prior guarantees against misuse and without appropriate training of personnel. According to the committee, this could lead to torture. The so-called taser is a weapon that makes it more accessible for officers to use force. This is because they leave no trace.
Privacy First Foundation, which together with the Human Rights Board and the Dutch Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (NJCM) brought the issue before the UN Committee against Torture through shadow reports, hopes that the dismissive stance will lead to a reconsideration and halt of Dutch plans to equip every Dutch police officer with a taser. Also, Privacy First hopes that the announced pilot will not be implemented."
Source: Ravage Webzine, 2 June 2013.