TASER use justified when man held knife to his chest in Ennskillen

Published Date: Dec 2019

Police were justified in using a TASER stun gun to prevent a man self-harming with a knife in Enniskillen in June 2016, a Police Ombudsman investigation has concluded.

Witnesses stated that the man was holding a knife with both hands and had begun to push it into his chest when an officer discharged the weapon.

The man’s concerned daughter had called police just before 12.30am on 11 June 2016 to report that he had a knife and was going to kill himself.

Enquiries by a Police Ombudsman investigator established that local police officers arrived at the scene within seven minutes, and armed response officers another 13 minutes later.

Officers reported that when they arrived the man had a knife to his throat. He had been drinking vodka and beer and had empty medication packets beside him.

They tried negotiating with him but after a while he brought the knife to his chest. An officer stated that he then judged there to be an immediate threat to the man’s life and fired his TASER.

The use of the weapon allowed officers to take control of the knife. The man was then given immediate aftercare before being taken to hospital.

The man’s daughter said that she considered the use of TASER by police to have been necessary to prevent her father injuring himself.

Enquiries also established that the officer who used the weapon was trained in its use and authorised to carry the weapon at the time of the incident.

The Police Ombudsman’s investigation concluded that the officer had acted in accordance with his duty to protect life. His use of TASER was found to have been necessary and in compliance with legislation and police guidelines.

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