Belfast Telegraph

Police Taser use 'was justified'

Police were justified in using a Taser against a man threatening to kill himself, an oversight 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.

They also examined the scene of the discharge and took accounts from eye witnesses - all of whom were consistent in their description of events.

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.

The man refused to drop the knife but officers kept talking to him until the arrival of a specialist armed response unit, the Ombudsman said.

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 an authorised to use the weapon, had shouted "Taser, Taser" before firing at the man's lower torso.

He was then taken to the Mater Hospital for treatment.

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