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Taser is used for first time by PSNI

Police have used a Taser for the first time in Northern Ireland to subdue a father who had locked himself and his two children into a house, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

The PSNI confirmed that the weapon was used for the first time during an incident in the Galliagh area of Londonderry.

A spokeswoman said that after the episode in the early hours of Saturday, the man was detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, and the children were returned safely to a family member.

There was controversy earlier this year when the PSNI revealed that it intended to use Tasers, a hand-held weapon that fires two wires that attach to the body and apply an electrical shock to incapacitate the target.

The police said in January that they had received permission from the Secretary of State to buy 12 Tasers, for use by specially trained officers.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission claimed they could potentially violate Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning inhumane treatment and the right to life.

Professor Monica McWilliams, NIHRC's chief commissioner, said at that time that the commission was not opposed to police officers having access to less lethal alternatives than firearms, but added that there were genuine concern about the safety of Tasers.

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A PSNI spokeswoman today confirmed that the weapon had been used in Derry.

The police spokeswoman said: “Police were called to a domestic related incident in the Galliagh area of Londonderry shortly before 3am on Saturday morning (August 16). It was reported that a man had locked himself in a house along with his two young children.

“A Taser unit was discharged by specialist firearms officers during the incident, as an appropriate and proportionate tactical option, to bring the matter to a safe conclusion.

“At around 6:50am, one 37-year-old man was arrested and was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act.

“The children were safely returned to a family member.

“The Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland (PONI) was informed and are carrying out an investigation in line with agreed PSNI protocols.”

The chairman of the District Policing Partnership for the Derry City Council area, Shaun Gallagher today said his party — the SDLP — does not support the use of Tasers.

He added: “I am glad that this incident came to a successful conclusion and that no-one, including the children was hurt.”

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