Police use of TASER was ‘justified’

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The Police Ombudsman has concluded that police were right to use a TASER stun gun when a man threatened self harm with a knife in Portadown in August 2015.

The man had initially called police in a “upset and incoherent” state, and police called him back several times to check whether he needed assistance.

During one of the calls he reported that he was alone in his flat and “swinging a knife”.

Officers were sent to the flat and cordoned off the area.

They reported that he was standing in the middle of the living room with a knife, was threatening to stab himself and had already damaged furniture.

What the Ombudsman’s office termed as ‘armed officers’ were tasked and reported that the man, who was holding the knife to his stomach, slammed the door shut when they tried to speak to him.

Fearing for the man’s safety, the officers then removed the door from its hinges and entered the property.

Attempts to negotiate with the man were unsuccessful, and TASER was used to allow officers to restrain him.

Once disarmed, he was given immediate medical assistance before being taken to hospital.

Enquiries by police Ombudsman investigators confirmed that the officer who used TASER was properly trained and authorised to use the weapon.

The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the use of the weapon had been lawful, justified, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances.