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The Ombudsman calls for “an exhaustive and detailed” state regulation for the use of Taser guns

The Ombudsman calls for “an exhaustive and detailed” state regulation for the use of Taser guns

04-14-2021

The Ombudsman Francisco Fernández Marugán has recommended the Ministry of Internal Affairs to regulate in “an exhaustive and detailed way” the use of electroshock weapons (taser guns). Fernandez Marugán claims for a state regulation that sets some guidelines for all police bodies to have common criteria for their use.

The Institution, through the inspection visits that it carries out under its condition of National Prevention Mechanism Against Torture (NPM), has determined that the number of members of the police forces with electroshock weapons is increasing.

Fernandez Marugán points out that the use of this type of gun has always constituted a risk situation and reminds that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has spoken out regarding its use, claiming for specific legislation for their handling.

The MNP agrees with the CPT in the fact that the use of these devices need to be limited to the cases where there is a real and imminent threat to life or risk of severe injury, and their use needs to be subject to the principles of necessity, subsidiarity, proportionality, prior notice, and caution.

 

Training, control, and supervision

According to the Ombudsman, the regulation of electroshock weapons needs to include meticulous instructions for their use. In that way, he advocates for that agents using these types of guns to receive specific training for their handling and asks for them to be selected amongst people with high resistance to stress.

Under his views, there should be a controlling and supervising process that included the mandatory submission of a report each time that a Taser gun has been used. Moreover, for a stronger control, interventions should be recorded so that there can be inspections on their use.

On another side, the Ombudsman considers that a medical report should be performed on the persons against which this weapon might have been used, as well as a subsequent follow-up of the sequels it might produce on them.

Fernandez Marugán expresses his worry regarding the use of these weapons against people suffering from cardiovascular diseases and notes that their use must be prohibited against vulnerable people, including minors, pregnant women or older people.


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