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Opinion on the use of physical force

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Amnesty International Poland issued an opinion to the Ministry of Interior on the draft premises of the new act on the use of physical force by law enforcement authorities. This is the third opinion given by the HFHR and AI on this law. Last week the bill was discussed at a consensus conference held by the Ministry of Interior.

The most recent draft premises of 10 September 2012 introduced a few modifications governing, among other things, the use of firearms. For instance, the current wording of the bill adds the requirement to fire a warning shot before the actual shot is fired and the prohibition of shooting at pregnant women or children up to 13 years old.

In the opinion of the organisations, a controversial issue is the use (or application) of “electric stunning devices such as stun guns”. The bill provides for the possibility to use them in the same situations as police batons. However, stun guns are arguably the middle ground between a baton and a firearm. If so, it would be advisable to restrict possibility of the permissible use of a stun gun.

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