Taser use justified as man cuts throat

Published Date: 10.09.2015

Police were right to use Taser against a man who was cutting his throat with a knife, an investigation by the Police Ombudsman has concluded.

The incident happened in west Belfast on 5 January 2013 as police responded to a call from a man who had contacted the ambulance service to report that he was about to take his own life.

Two armed police units comprising six police officers were sent to the scene. Officers said that when they arrived he was in the process of pushing a Stanley knife into his throat.

The officer who discharged the Taser told Police Ombudsman investigators that he instructed the man to drop the knife. When the instruction was ignored, the officer said he feared for the man’s life, and used Taser to prevent the man causing further self-harm.

The man was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment after the incident. He later told investigators that he had no complaints about the actions of police, stating that they had only been doing their job.

The officer who used the Taser was found to have been properly trained and authorised to do so.

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of the weapon had been justified, lawful and proportionate.

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