Officers use of Taser was justified, report finds

The actions of two police officers who discharged their Tasers against a man during a violent incident were “necessary, proportionate and justified”, an independent investigation has found.

Jun 4, 2021
By Tony Thompson

The report by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) related to an incident at a house in Orkney in February 2021 when a man made numerous 999 calls to Police Scotland, shouting, swearing and stating that he wanted to stab police officers.

Two Specially Trained Officers (STOs) were sent to the incident armed with Taser devices and were confronted by the man, who appeared at a window brandishing a metal pole and a knife. The man was shouting that he was going to stab and kill the officers, who told him to drop the weapons.

Upon leaving the house the man was initially compliant but then ran at an officer and reached towards a knife sheath in his trouser waistband, resulting in both officers discharging their Tasers, and temporarily incapacitating the man. He was then arrested and detained in police custody.

The man subsequently appeared at court and received a custodial sentence.

The PIRC investigation found that the man had a “history of self-harming, mental health issues and criminal conduct”, including the use of weapons and violence towards police officers, resulting in him being “well-known to the police and emergency services in Orkney”.

Chief Inspector Ali Garrow, Orkney’s area commander, welcomed the findings of the report. “Officers were faced with a violent and dangerous man who was in the process of trying to attack them, and their prompt action managed to stop him and bring a dangerous situation to a safe conclusion,” he said.

“I am pleased that PIRC has found that their actions in using a Taser were appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances, and the man was subsequently arrested and later sentenced at court.

“Thankfully our officers are not often confronted with situations like this in Orkney, but when they are it is reassuring to know that they have the right equipment to keep themselves and others safe.”

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