Taser use was proportionate as man threatened to kill himself

Published Date: 06.05.2015

Police were right to use Taser against a man who had a knife held to his throat and was threatening to kill himself, an investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has concluded.

The incident happened in west Belfast on 15 July 2012, after police received a report that a man had locked himself in the bedroom of his mother’s house and was threatening to take his own life.

A police armed response unit tried to persuade the man to leave the room, but when he instead threatened to cut his own throat, two officers forced their way into the room. They saw he had the knife held to his throat and, after issuing a warning, discharged the weapon.

The officers were then able to restrain the man, who was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital and later released after examination.

Accounts of the incident were secured from all available witnesses by Police Ombudsman investigators, who also oversaw the downloading of information from the memory of the Taser. This information was consistent in its description of the course of events.

An examination of training records also showed that the officer who used the Taser was properly trained and authorised to do so.

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

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