Prison officers who come into contact with dangerous inmates will now be allowed to carry pepper spray thanks to a decision by Justice Minister Karen Hækkerup.
According to Information newspaper, Hækkerup has informed parliament that she will follow the suggestion of the Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen) to allow prison personnel to carry pepper spray.
Up until now, pepper spray was stowed in locked cabinets and could only be distributed to officers during “particular risk situations”.
Under the rule change, prison officers will now be able to carry pepper spray when dealing with dangerous inmates, when on night duty and in situations in which they risk being alone with inmates.
The association for uniformed prison personnel, Fængselsforbundet, has long pushed for officers to be allowed to carry pepper spray and praised Hækkerup’s decision.
“If a prisoner for example goes crazy and starts swinging a chair around, we would normally have to pull out our shields and batons and hit the prisoner down to the ground to then put handcuffs on him,” Fængselsforbundet’s chairman, Kim Østerbye, told Information. “Now we can spray him with pepper spray, which will get him to drop the chair and cover his eyes. Ten minutes later, he will be fine.”