Police right to use Taser when man ran at them with a knife: Police Ombudsman

Published Date: Dec 2014

Police acted properly when they used Taser against a man who ran at them with a knife in North Belfast in June 2013, an investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has found.

Police had been called by a woman who said he son had left her house with a large kitchen knife. She thought he might have been heading to a friend’s house as they had a dispute over money.

When police called her back to get some more information, the woman told them he had returned home with the knife and was now in his bedroom.

Police arrived at the house a few minutes later and they shouted for the man to come to the front door. He then ran at them with the knife in his hand, at which point an officer discharged his Taser.

As officers restrained and arrested him, he said he was having a panic attack.  An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital for treatment.

The incident was referred by the Chief Constable to the Police Ombudsman’s Office for independent investigation. Investigators obtained statements from witnesses, and checked police records, including the authorisation for the use of Taser and the officer’s training records. These showed that he was properly authorised to use the Taser at the time of the incident.

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of Taser during the incident had been “lawful, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances.”


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