For five years, police officers have had so-called stun guns with them to defend themselves against attacks. However, this does not apply to everyone, but only to special units. The union wants to change that, but the government is staying the course.

Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) – Unlike in other federal states, patrol officers in Baden-Württemberg are still not equipped with a stun gun to ward off an attack and to put criminals out of action. “A nationwide introduction of Tasers is currently not planned, but will be continuously reviewed as an option,” said Interior Minister Thomas Strobl of the German Press Agency. The use of the devices, which cause attackers to temporarily paralyze the nervous system, must be trained at great expense. “It is therefore reserved for the special forces of the police headquarters,” said Strobl.

Other countries such as Bavaria, on the other hand, have significantly expanded the use of the so-called distance electric impulse devices.

The German police union in particular has been vehemently demanding for years that police officers in the south-west should be equipped with the so-called Tasers. State chairman Ralf Kusterer said it was “an absolutely wrong decision” not to use it across the board. “As in other areas of internal security, other federal states are running away from us,” he criticized.

In his view, particularly with the increasing number of operations involving mentally ill people, a stun gun should be used instead of a firearm. The Taser must become the standard equipment in patrol service – for the police officers who are first on site and in dangerous situations, Kusterer told the dpa. From his point of view, too, a taser protects the police. “It’s the only medium between a baton and a pistol, it’s milder than a gun and that’s why it saves lives.”

However, criminals also turn the tables again and again and get their own stun guns to fend off the police. “We see the development of criminals equipping themselves with similar devices with great concern,” said Kusterer.

The stun gun incapacitates an opponent for several seconds. From a distance of two to five meters, the policeman shoots arrows connected with wire. This is painful for the victim, because the arrow penetrates several millimeters deep into the skin and emits an electrical impulse. This should enable police officers to keep an attacker at a distance – without the risk of fatal injury. However, its use is not entirely without risk. Its use can have deadly consequences, especially for the elderly, pregnant women and people with heart problems.

The special police units in Baden-Württemberg don’t use their stun guns very often. Above all, the devices are a deterrent, their use is also threatened in Baden-Württemberg, but then rarely used. In the past year, the police pulled the trigger four times, five more times they used such a device in the current year until the end of November. Since their introduction in March 2007, they have been used in 59 cases. So far, no fatalities have been reported in connection with police use of such a device.