Police justified in using AEPs against man who attacked police Land Rover with samurai sword

Published Date: 18.02.2015

The Police Ombudsman has concluded that police were justified in discharging two AEP baton rounds at a man who attacked a police Land Rover with a samurai sword in Belfast’s New Lodge area on 9 August 2013.

In line with standard procedure in circumstances involving the police use of firearms, the incident was referred by police to the Police Ombudsman’s Office for independent investigation.

Police Ombudsman investigators obtained relevant police records and documentation, statements from the officers who fired the rounds, and CCTV footage showing a man attacking the police Land Rover with a sword.

The incident happened amid a period of serious and sustained public disorder in the area.

Man made off, but was later identified and admitted attacking police vehicle with a sword.

One of the rounds was reported to have struck the man in the groin area, the other on the lower left leg. The man made off, but was later identified and admitted using the sword to attack the police vehicle. The sword was later recovered at Carlisle Road.

The man subsequently appeared at court and received a suspended prison sentence and probation for possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage.

The officers said they had given the man a number of warnings before AEPs were used.  The officer who discharged the second round said he did so as the first one appeared to have had no effect, despite having struck the target.

Both officers were found to have been properly trained in the use of AEPs.

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of AEPs during the incident had been “lawful and proportionate” to the circumstances faced by officers.

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