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No pepper spray for Swiss soldiers

Swiss soldiers will not be armed with canisters of pepper spray Keystone Archive

Switzerland's defence minister, Samuel Schmid, has rejected calls for Swiss soldiers to be armed with pepper sprays.

This content was published on March 28, 2002 - 15:48

The announcement quashes media speculation that the ministry was planning to introduce the spray as part of standard-issue equipment to Swiss soldiers.

But Schmid made it clear on Thursday that the cost of equipping the Swiss army with canisters of the spray was simply too high.

"The distribution [of the spray] would have made a costly training programme necessary, and this would have had to be repeated annually," the ministry said in a press communiqué.

Defence ministry officials also said they did not want to take the risk of having to pay compensation in the event of misuse of the spray.

The debate over whether soldiers should be armed with pepper spray hit the headlines after reports last autumn of recruits being attacked by civilians during their evening outings.

Certain types of pepper spray are illegal in Switzerland because they are highly toxic.

swissinfo with agencies

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