Northern Ireland news

Taser use to stop people self-harming 'justified', says Ombudsman

Police were justified in using a Taser to stop people self-harming, the Ombudsman has said
By Lesley-Anne McKeown, Press Association

Police were justified in using Tasers to stop three individuals self-harming, a watchdog has found.

During an incident in Lisburn last July, police deployed three of the stun guns after a man who admitted being high on substances threatened to jump from a first-floor window.

Witnesses reported that the man had broken into two houses and was armed with knives

He was also seen smashing furniture and windows.

In September 2015, a Taser was used against a woman in Ballymena who was bleeding from her arms and held a knife to her throat.

Ombudsman investigators found that the woman had dialled 999 in a distressed state but had declined help from officers who attended the scene.

In another incident last November, a Taser was used when a man with drug problems, who had recently attempted to take his own life, locked himself in a bathroom and caused self-harm.

Police had been called to the property in north Belfast by a doctor.

Discharges of police firearms, including Tasers, are routinely referred by the Chief Constable for independent scrutiny.

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire said in each incident the use of a Taser had been lawful, justified and proportionate and had helped prevent those involved causing themselves more serious harm.

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