Police banned from taking gun home
23 June 2005, BRUSSELS — In response to alarming suicide rate figures, the Belgian government has banned federal police officers from keeping their service pistols at home.
23 June 2005
BRUSSELS — In response to alarming suicide rate figures, the Belgian government has banned federal police officers from keeping their service pistols at home.
Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has confirmed the new guidelines, newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' reported on Thursday.
The police suicide rate is double that of the general public. Officers frequently use their own weapon when committing suicide.
Responding to concerns raised by Spirit MP Stijn Bex, Liberal VLD minister Dewael admitted 11 local and two federal police officers have already committed suicide this year.
Citing the annual report from police supervisory authority Comité P, Bex came to the conclusion the "easy availability of police weapons" were the basis of many family tragedies.
Dewael subsequently opted to ban federal officers from keeping their guns at home. He hopes to draw up a similar guideline with local police in the near future.
The new guideline comes after a policeman shot and killed his wife on Wednesday night before turning the gun on himself. The 45-year-old man survived the suicide attempt.
It is not yet known whether the man used his service pistol in the family shooting.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news