Police watchdog rules that use of Taser on Bannockburn man was ‘not reasonable or necessary’

It was “not reasonable or necessary” for a police officer to discharge a Taser on a 28-year-old man in Bannockburn last year, the Police Investigation and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has found.

The watchdog has published its report on an incident which took place outside a pub in Quakerfield, Bannockburn on 16 September 2018.

The report recommends that the Specially Trained Officer (STO) who discharged the Taser should undergo refresher training and reassessment in the use of the Taser.

Five hundred STOs have been trained by Police Scotland in the use of Taser devices and were deployed from June 2018 onwards. In light of the deployment of these officers, the PIRC investigated the initial incidents involving STOs and their use of Tasers.

The Commissioner found that the response of the officers involved in three of these incidents was necessary, proportionate and justified

However with regard to the incident in Bannockburn, the report found that the 28-year-old man did not appear to be posing an imminent threat to any police officers and the use of the Taser was not a proportionate response.

Six police officers went to a pub in the Quakerfield area of Bannockburn to arrest the man who was wanted in connection with an alleged assault on two people earlier that day.

The officers discharged PAVA spray at the man, which PIRC concluded was necessary to try and arrest the man without injury to himself or the officers.

However, the use of the Taser after this was not reasonable, proportionate or necessary. Additionally, the report 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.

The incident was referred to the PIRC by Police Scotland on 21 September 2019. The Commissioner’s investigation focused on the discharge of PAVA spray and the use of Taser and whether these actions were a proportionate response in the circumstances.

As well as recommending that the STO involved undergoes refresher training in the use of Taser, the Commissioner has also recommended that officers involved in the incident are reminded of arrest procedures and the need to inform people when they have been placed under arrest.

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