Taser used against man reported to have taken overdose in Dunmurry

Published Date: Aug 2014

Police in Dunmurry acted lawfully when they used Taser against a man reported to have taken an overdose and who had locked himself in a house, the Police Ombudsman has concluded.

Dr Michael Maguire was asked by police to investigate the use of Taser during the incident, which happened in December 2013.

Enquiries established that police had received a 999 call reporting concerns about the man’s welfare. Officers went to the house, which was locked,  and saw him inside taking tablets and washing them down with Buckfast wine.

A police Armed Response Unit was sent to the scene and forced entry to the property via the back door. Officers told Police Ombudsman investigators that the man then ran up the stairs, holding a screwdriver and throwing bottles at them.

They said one of the bottles struck an officer on a hand in which he was holding a Taser, causing a partial discharge of the weapon.

Man threatened officers with a screwdriver.

Officers stated that the man then came down the stairs and threatened the officers with the screwdriver. Several warnings were shouted before Taser was discharged at him.

Officers were then able to restrain him, and he was subsequently taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment.

The man was later charged and pleaded guilty at court to the offences of possession of an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence, criminal damage and assault on police.

He made no response to attempts to contact him by Police Ombudsman investigators.

Examination of police records showed that the use of Taser had been properly authorised, and that the officer had been properly trained in its use.

Dr Maguire concluded that the use of Taser during the incident had been lawful, proportionate and necessary.

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