Highlands & Islands

Taser use on man in Balintore disturbance 'justified'

Taser Image copyright PA Media

The use of a Taser by police on a man who had thrown a TV at them before setting fire to his home was "necessary and proportionate", a probe has found.

Armed police had been called to a disturbance at the 40-year-old's home in Easter Ross in August last year.

During the incident, the man also threw a dart, garden shears and a metal pole at the officers.

Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) reviewed the use of the Taser in his arrest.

Pirc's investigation found the police actions were "justified in bringing the incident to a safe conclusion".

Police Scotland has welcomed the findings.

Two armed response vehicles from Inverness and one from Aberdeen arrived at the man's home in Balintore at about 18:00 on 1 August.

The man, who was "drunk and aggressive" and had threatened someone with violence, smashed a living room window with a golf club, showering police with glass.

Distraction grenade

He refused to drop the club and threw a dart which "narrowly missed" the officers.

About two-and-half hours into the incident, police saw the man starting a fire at the bottom of the staircase in the house.

The officers decided at that point to go inside to extinguish the fire and arrest the man.

From the top of the stairs, he threw the television, garden shears and metal pole before disappearing from view.

Police threw a pyrotechnic distraction grenade into the upstairs hallway to "lessen any potential threat", before going upstairs where they found the man in a bedroom.

The Taser was used after he failed to follow an instruction to show his hands.

He was handcuffed and taken to hospital in Inverness for treatment to minor injuries, before being taken to a police station.

'Volatile incidents'

In a report, Pirc said: "Following the man failing to comply with instructions to show his hands, to ensure he was not in possession of a weapon, the use of Taser to bring the incident to a rapid conclusion was necessary and proportionate."

Ch Supt Louise Skelton, head of specialist services at Police Scotland, welcomed the Pirc findings.

She said: "On a daily basis, officers are attending volatile and violent incidents and the use of force to resolve these matters will be carefully considered, and only used when absolutely necessary.

"The professional response to this volatile situation has ensured that the man involved did not come to any harm and he could not put the public or officers at further risk."

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