Belfast Telegraph

Watchdog clears police over use of Taser on man

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Police were justified in using a Taser against a man threatening to kill himself, the PSNI watchdog body has found.

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire said officers had acted in a "lawful" and "proportionate" manner during the incident in north Belfast last October.

His report also found that Tasering the man, who was intoxicated through drink and drugs and was pressing a knife to his throat, had been "necessary".

Although no complaint was made, the incident had been referred to the Ombudsman for independent assessment.

Investigators obtained a copy of the phone call made to police during which a man claimed to have a knife and a bottle and was going to take his own life.

The Ombudsman said police had kept the man on the line while a local response crew was dispatched.

They arrived within nine minutes and found a man pressing a knife to his throat, mouth and eye. He told officers he had consumed a bottle of vodka, taken drugs and suffered from mental health difficulties.

It was when he became more agitated and tried to hide behind the kitchen door that the decision was taken to deploy the Taser.

The Ombudsman said the officer, who was fully trained and authorised to use the weapon, had shouted "Taser, Taser" before firing at the man's lower torso.

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