Tayside and Central Scotland

Police officer's use of Taser 'not reasonable or necessary'

Taser Image copyright PA

A police officer's use of a Taser on a man outside a Bannockburn pub was not "reasonable or necessary", Scotland's police watchdog has ruled.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) said the officer should undergo refresher training and reassessment in the use of the weapon.

The incident happened in Quakerfield last September.

The Pirc report said the 28-year-old man did not appear to be "posing any imminent threat to officers".

The Scottish Police Federation said the officer had made a split second decision while dealing with a man with a history of violence.

General secretary Calum Steele said it was "surprising" that Pirc made no comment on what the officers should have done. "Rather they criticised what was done," he added.

'Not reasonable'

The Pirc report said six police officers went into the pub to arrest the man who was wanted in connection with an alleged assault.

The man was escorted to the door, but there was a struggle and the man ran off, followed by officers.

The Pirc report found there was no evidence that officers had informed the man that he was under arrest.

During the chase, the man became aggressive and threatening towards the police officers and on a number of occasions challenged them to a fight.

After being struck twice in the face with PAVA spray, the man, who was described as disoriented, walked backwards away from the officers.

A civilian witness approached the man, who bent forward and leaned his head into the witness's abdomen.

Image copyright George Clerk/Getty

One of the officers who chased the man into a nearby car park, drew her Taser and warned him she had the weapon.

She then approached him and touched him on the shoulder, which caused him to jerk his right arm up and backwards.

The officer then discharged her Taser at the man and he was arrested.

The Pirc report said that, in the circumstances, the use of Taser was "not reasonable, proportionate or necessary."

The report also found that an officer who was standing immediately behind the man was at risk of being struck by the Taser barbs.

The man was arrested, charged with a number of offences and later convicted.

In a statement, Police Federation general secretary Calum Steele said: "The Pirc has the luxury of months to crawl over the split-second decision of a police officer when facing a large male with a history of violence from a boxing background.

"The same male was wanted for a recent assault and displayed violent intent towards officers."

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