EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL TECHNICIANS OF THE RESCUE BOARD CONFUSED WITH THE RIGHT TO APPLY DIRECT COERCION AND TO USE MEASURES
Background: According to the current Estonian Law Enforcement Act (hereinafter LEA), only competent law enforcement institutions may apply measures of state supervision. Law enforcement institution’s supervision duties are stated in different special acts of law. According to LEA, physical force, special means or a weapon can be used (there-fore direct coercion may be applied) by the police as a general law enforcement institution. The special means that are allowed are handcuffs, shackles, binding means, service animal, technical barrier, means to force a vehicle to stop, water cannon etc. Police service weapons are a firearm, a gas, a pneumatic, a cut-and-thrust and an electric shock weapon. Other law enforcement institutions may apply direct coercion only if allowed in special laws. According to the Rescue Act (hereinafter RA), Rescue Board’s explosive ordnance disposal (hereinafter EOD) technicians may apply direct coercion. However, from amongst the means of direct coercion, EOD technicians may only use handcuffs. Using a firearm is allowed only when performing self-defence. Aim: The aim of the study is to analyse the exhaustive regulation of EOD technician’s tasks and allowed means of direct coercion in the RA. In addition to that, the training programme is looked into to determine whether it is suffi-cient for achieving the desired knowledge and skills. Method: Legal provisions are studied to determine the content of the EOD technicians’ supervisory tasks, al-lowed special measures and the means of direct coercion (comparative analysis of legal provisions). To find out the real needs to apply measures and means of direct coercion, EOD commanders of the Western region were interviewed (questionnaire). Thirdly, EOD technicians’ curricula are analysed to give an overview of the sufficiency of their training (document review). Results: The analysis reveals that all EOD technicians’ supervisory tasks have not been legally regulated. The number of state supervision measures and means of direct coercion is not sufficient to fulfil the tasks stated by the legislator. The curricula do not provide sufficient training for the application of the means of direct coercion.
Conclusions: EOD technicians’ supervisory tasks need to be specified in the RA; at the moment, most of them have been regulated only in the statute. The RA must be added the right to conduct security check and examine persons and the list of allowed means of direct coercion must be more versatile (e.g. to add the right to use a gas weapon, hand-cuffs and means to force a vehicle to stop). If EOD technicians are entitled to more rights, curricula must be amended by adding the training for applying the means of direct coercion, incl. the time needed for the practice of the application of physical force must be increased.