Published Date: 24.06.2013
The Police Ombudsman has found that a police officer acted appropriately when he discharged a Taser at a man during an incident at Crumlin on 22 April 2013.
Police had received a call from the Ambulance Service, requesting assistance at a house in the village where a man had a knife and was cutting himself.
Two police Armed Response Vehicles were tasked to attend, and while en route received information that the man had a history of self-harming and of concealing weapons.
Upon arrival, the Armed Response officers were met by local police who had arrived a few minutes earlier, and who told them that the man was in the house.
As the armed officers approached the building, the man opened the front door. The officers noted that he was bleeding from his face and had cuts to his forearm. They also stated that he was very aggressive and shouting obscenities at police.
Man with cuts on his arms and a knife in his hand rushed towards officer.
They said that he then moved quickly towards an officer standing near the front door, at which point another officer discharged his Taser at the man. However, the man immediately slammed shut the door, which was struck by the barbs discharged by the Taser.
Police then gained entry to the house and managed to restrain the man. He was offered medical treatment by the ambulance staff present, but declined the offer. A decision was taken not to arrest the man, and he was placed in the care of his mother.
All police firearms discharges in Northern Ireland, including Taser discharges, are automatically referred by police to the Police Ombudsman for independent investigation.
During their investigation, Police Ombudsman investigators obtained accounts from all available witnesses, including the man’s mother. Each was consistent in their description of what had happened.
The Taser used during the incident was seized and data relating to the discharge analysed. The information retrieved corroborated the account of the officer who had fired it.
The officer’s training records were also examined, and these showed that he was trained in the use of Taser and authorised to carry the weapon at the time of the incident.
Having reviewed the evidence, the Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of the Taser was, in the circumstances, lawful proportionate and necessary.
He made no policy or misconduct recommendations in respect of the incident.