Police were not excessive in response to 999 gun call, despite man’s co-operation

Published Date: 26.02.2015

POLICE did not act excessively in the way they dealt with a 999 call reporting that a man had been drinking and was in possession of a legally held firearm, an investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has concluded.

The man complained that the police response to the incident, which happened in 2013, was disproportionate given that his wife had reported that the incident posed no immediate danger and required no immediate response.

He added that he had clearly been unarmed and had informed police that his guns were locked up and that he would fully co-operate with them. Despite this, he said he was still ordered to get on the ground with his hands in the air, before being approached by three officers with their guns drawn.

He also complained that he was then kept in handcuffs in a room in his house for over an hour, despite repeatedly requesting that the cuffs be removed.  He alleged it was inappropriate for officers to have restricted his movement in his own home for so long, given that he had not been arrested or cautioned, was fully compliant and had given them access to his gun cabinet.

The man also alleged that his weapons had been seized without justification, and that he had been given no receipt in relation to their seizure.

During his investigation of the complaint, a Police Ombudsman investigator obtained copies of a number of phone calls involving the police and the complainant, and police and his wife. 

He established that during the initial 999 call, the man’s wife had told police that her husband had drink taken and had a gun on his person.

While acknowledging that the complainant had co-operated with police throughout the incident, the investigator said the officers had acted properly to minimise risk.

The investigator also found that the guns had been seized by police in accordance with legislation.

However, the man’s complaint that he had not been issued with a receipt was substantiated as none had been available to officers at the scene.  No disciplinary action was recommended, however, as an officer had taken steps to rectify the situation by issuing a receipt on her return to the station, although there was a delay beyond her control in the complainant receiving it.


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