Police justified in using Taser in east Belfast

The Police Ombudsman has found that a police officer was justified in using Taser to prevent a 25-year-old man causing himself further harm during an incident in east Belfast in February 2013.

Police arrived at the incident on the morning of 9 February to find the man cutting his throat with a piece of broken glass.

The police officer who discharged the Taser told Police Ombudsman investigators that he did so in order to prevent the man injuring himself further, and to reduce the risk posed to officers.

Police were then able to detain the man, who was treated by an ambulance crew before being taken to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

Police Ombudsman investigators obtained accounts of what had happened from all available witnesses, including the man’s girlfriend. Each was consistent in their description of events.

Police records showed that the officer was properly trained and authorised to use the Taser.  Data downloaded from the weapon’s electronic memory also corresponded with the officer’s account.

The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of Taser had been lawful, proportionate and necessary, and in compliance with relevant PSNI guidelines.


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