Police acted professionally in dealing with “gun” incident

Published Date: 16.06.2015

A Police Ombudsman investigation has concluded that police were right to use Taser when a man, who was reported to have taken an overdose, threatened to get a gun.

The use of Taser during the incident, which happened in Lisburn on 19 July 2011, was referred by police to the Police Ombudsman’s Office for independent investigation.

Police Ombudsman investigators examined all relevant police records and radio transmissions and secured statements from police officers, ambulance staff and civilian witnesses.

They established that the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service had requested assistance at around 10pm, as they were dealing with a man who was reported to have a firearm.

Local police officers went to the scene and spoke to a neighbour who said the man had threatened self-harm and had shown her a gun.

Armed response officers were also tasked and managed to encourage the man to come out of the house and sit on the front doorstep. They said he appeared agitated and distressed and seemed to have drink taken.

Without warning, the man then stood up and said he was going back into the house to get a gun. Officers warned him not to do so, but when he continued an officer discharged his Taser as the man was making his way down the hall towards the living room of the house.

A ball bearing pistol was later recovered from behind the living room fireplace.

All witnesses stated that the man had been highly agitated and unpredictable during the incident and said police had no option but to act.

The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, noted that police had followed proper procedures and said “officers acted professionally to resolve a potentially dangerous situation”.

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