The Police Ombudsman has found officers were right to draw their weapons on a driver after a police chase in Co Down.
The driver lodged a complaint that the officers’ use of firearms during the incident, which happened near Newtownards in February last year, was oppressive, unjustified and had caused him considerable distress.
However, in accounts provided to the Police Ombudsman’s Office, the officers involved said they had drawn their weapons as they feared for their safety – given that the driver had failed to stop and was continuing to edge his vehicle towards them.
Officers said the incident begun when the driver overtook them at high speed on a bend on the Portaferry Road.
They said, using blue lights and the siren, they chased the car for around three to four miles before it finally slowed down and pulled over.
As the officer approached the car it took off. They again gave chase and were able to block the car by stopping in front of it.
Even then, as both officers walked towards the vehicle, they said the driver continued to edge the car towards them. They then drew their guns in response to the threat they perceived him to pose.
The officers said they had re-holstered their weapons as soon as the driver had complied with their instructions by stopping the car, turning off the engine and showing his hands.
The Police Ombudsman said radio transmissions were reviewed by investigators and found to corroborate the officers’ accounts.