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Taser and firearm use by Swiss police on the rise

The use of tasers by Swiss police officers increased by almost 40% last year – but animals, rather than humans, were blamed for the increase in the use of firearms. 

Police officers resorted to the use of tasers in 73 cases in 2019, compared to 45 the previous year, according to information released on Thursday by the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders of Switzerland (CCPCS). Two-thirds of the cases involved persons who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In almost half the cases, the individuals were armed. 

The increase in the use of tasers could be partly explained by the fact that this means of neutralising suspects is becoming more and more common among police forces, explained the CCPCS. On the other hand, rising figures for violent offences, as well as violence and threats against public officials, “indicate that the potential for violence has increased”. 

“The use of tasers is not indiscriminate either: it is linked to the principle of proportionality like all other means of restraint,” said Stefan Blättler, president of the CCPCS. 

Police forces resorted to the use of firearms 15 times last year which is three more than in 2018. The increase was attributed to the risk presented by animals on the road to vehicles.