Taser use by police officer ‘necessary and proportionate’, report finds

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A police officer was justified in using a Taser on a man feared to be planning to take his own life, an investigation has found.

Officers were called to a house in Bannockburn near Stirling over reports the 20-year-old had armed himself with a knife.

He had a history of threats of self-harm and it was feared he had plans to injure himself on the night in question, Saturday March 30.

An investigation report for the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) found a specially trained officer (STO) initially saw the man in the garden and ordered him to drop the knife but he refused.

When police challenged him for a second time he dropped the weapon but ran towards another part of the house.

The man continued to not respond to instructions from the officer, who had concerns he may have access to another weapon and could harm himself or someone else.

As a result, the STO discharged his Taser at him and he was immediately incapacitated.

All incidents involving the use of firearms by Police Scotland, including Tasers, have to be referred to the PIRC for an independent assessment.

In its report, published on Thursday, the PIRC said the officer’s actions were necessary and proportionate.

It concluded: “The man had a history of threats of self-harm. On the night of the incident, he had threatened to commit suicide and had armed himself with a knife.

“An STO considered that the man may self-harm, gain access to other weapons or present a danger to unknown occupants and discharged his Taser at him.

“This allowed the man to be brought under control and arrested.

“The use of Taser in the circumstances was necessary, proportionate and justified.”

Chief Inspector Gill Marshall, the local area commander for Stirling, said: “Police Scotland welcomes the report from PIRC, which makes clear that the officer acted appropriately throughout and used the Taser only to prevent the man potentially harming himself or others.”

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