Police Ombudsman: Taser use in self-harming cases justified

The use of Tasers by the PSNI is routinely referred to the Police Ombudsman
The use of Tasers by the PSNI is routinely referred to the Police Ombudsman

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.