Officer who Tasered ten-year-old girl cleared of misconduct

An officer has been cleared of misconduct after Tasering a girl who was threatening her mother with garden shears and a hammer in South London.

Nov 30, 2023
By Paul Jacques

An independent panel concluded that PC Jonathan Broadhead, attached to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Central South Command Unit, did not breach police standards of professional behaviour relating to use of force.

Commander Jon Savell said it was an “extremely rare and unusual case”.

PC Broadhead and another officer had attended an address in South London on January 21, 2021, after a mother called to report her daughter was threatening her with garden shears and a hammer.

The officers met the child’s mother at the door of the property while the ten-year-old girl was inside.

PC Broadhead entered the address and after instructing her to put the shears down discharged his Taser twice against the child. She was taken to hospital for treatment but did not sustain serious physical injuries.

Following a formal complaint, a voluntary referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which launched an independent investigation.

“The IOPC concluded that PC Broadhead should face a gross misconduct hearing,” said the MPS. We disagreed with this finding. The IOPC then directed that a hearing should be held, and decided to present it.”

The IOPC also passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS concluded there should be no further action.

Commander Savell said: “This is an extremely rare and unusual case. In the immediate days after the incident a senior officer visited the address to apologise for the trauma caused to the girl and her family. Although no misconduct has been found, we repeat this apology today.

“The panel found that PC Broadhead did not breach professional standards based on the information known to him at the time and the clear threat presented, and that he had acted in accordance with his training for the safety of all those involved.

“Tasers provide officers with the ability to de-escalate situations and protect others from harm. We welcome scrutiny around the use of Taser and are working hard to engage with communities to involve them in monitoring how we use this tactic.

“From January to October 2023, Taser has been ‘used’ over 5,300 times but only discharged on 359 occasions, a less than seven per cent discharge rate. Every time a Taser is charged, the incident is reviewed and the officer receives an in-person debrief carried out by lead Taser instructors.

“It has been almost three years since this incident took place, which has been challenging for the PC and the family of the girl involved. Our officers expect to be held accountable for their actions but this case highlights the importance of the ongoing Home Office Accountability Review and we look forward to its findings.”

The MPS currently has around 7,200 officers equipped to carry Taser.

Over the past four years Taser ‘use’ has been reducing, the MPS said.

In the financial year 2020/21, Taser was used 9,506 times in the force. From January to October 2023, the number of discharges had fallen to 5,314 – of these it was discharged on 359 occasions. Seventeen of these discharges were against people under 18.

“‘Use’ encompasses seven different uses and can range from simply drawing it from the holster to firing it,” the MPS said.

“Officers undergo rigorous training before they are allowed to use Taser and are required to pass an annual refresher course to ensure they remain competent in its use.

“Officers know and expect to be held to account for their actions.”

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