Taser use on the rise in Switzerland

Since approval for use of tasers in Switzerland by Swiss cantonal police was granted in 2003, usage has been steadily on the increase.

Taser use on the rise in Switzerland
Junglecat (File)

The Swiss Police Technical Commission recorded 18 instances last year, up from 15 cases the previous year, newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports.

The trend is steadily rising, with thirteen, seven and eight cases recorded in the years 2007 to 2009. Overall, the gun has been used 70 times since its introduction in Switzerland.

Tasers operate by emitting a strong electrical current, disrupting voluntary control of the recipient’s muscles. They have become increasingly popular among police and special forces units in cases concerning mentally disturbed, violent or intoxicated individuals.

Unlike the United States, where tasers can be carried legally in 43 states without a permit, use of tasers in Switzerland is restricted to use only by police and border guards.

In over half of the cases reported in Switzerland last year, the targets were described as being emotionally disturbed. The rest of the numbers were made up of individuals under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

Amnesty International has voiced concern over the use of taser guns, in particular against the emotionally disturbed, NZZ reports.

The organisation maintains that tasers should only be used when any other weapon would be used.

In half of the cases, the taser was used to still physically violent and aggressive individuals.

Only one person is recorded as being injured in 2011. These injuries were sustained when the recipient fell from the force of the shock.

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Nuclear plant returns to service after shutdown

A reactor at a Swiss nuclear plant that automatically shut down due to a defect was brought back online on Thursday evening, the operator said.

"After an interruption of around 24 hours, Block 2 of the Beznau nuclear power plant will start producing electricity again tonight," operator Axpo said in a statement.

The company explained that "a defective safety switch in the non-nuclear part of the plant" had caused the automatic shut-down late Wednesday.
The erroneous triggering of the switch had halted the flow of water into the steam generator, which had caused the reactor to shut down, the company said.

"The fault was rectified by activating an identical reserve switch," Axpo said, stressing that an inspection showed that all the components affected by the defect were now functioning well.

"The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) approved the restart of Block 2," the company said.

Switzerland reacted swiftly to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima last year, with parliament deciding to phase out nuclear energy.
Under current plans the country's five reactors will be put out of action by 2034.