Police Scotland officers justified in use of Tasers in three incidents, PIRC finds

Written by Jenni Davidson on 22 February 2019 in News

The policing watchdog found that the use of Tasers was necessary, proportionate and justified in all three cases

Taser - Image credit: cea+ via Flickr

Police Scotland officers were justified in their use of Tasers in three recent incidents, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has found.

The policing watchdog found that the use of Tasers was necessary, proportionate and justified in all three cases. 

The first incident, on 18 June 2018, involved a 21-year-old man in Jedburgh who had been reported as having a loaded crossbow and who had been threatening to harm himself.

After his arrest he was also found to be in possession of a knife.

The second incident, on 25 June 2018 in Aberdeen, involved a 33-year-old man who was pressing a knife against his own throat and threatening to kill himself.

The third case, on 1 July 2018 in Carluke, involving a 35-year-old man who had repeatedly swung a glass bottle at police officers.

Tasers can only be used by specially trained police officers.

In December 2017 it was announced that a small proportion of police officers across all divisions of Police Scotland would be chosen to carry the devices.

Since then five hundred officers have been trained by Police Scotland, with active use of Tasers by the force beginning in June 2018.

All incidents involving a police officer using firearms, including Tasers, are referred to the PIRC as standard.

Because this was a recent change, PIRC investigated the initial incidents involving the newly trained officers and their use of Tasers.

A PIRC spokesperson said: “The findings in these cases illustrate that the use of Taser devices by specially trained officers of Police Scotland was appropriate in providing protection to the public, the police officers and indeed a number of those Tasered.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Operational and Specialist Support Mark Williams said: “We welcome the findings of these reports.

"Our number one priority is the protection of the public and it is really positive that the PIRC has recognised that in all of these incredibly challenging incidents our officers acted professionally.”

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