The findings are highlighted in the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) 2018-19 annual report. PIRC investigations also found that one third of all Taser uses referred throughout the year related to incidents involving self-harm or circumstances where officers were aiming to protect people who were mentally or emotionally disturbed and posing a serious threat to themselves or others.
PIRC’s annual report covers the period between April 2018 and March 2019, during which 34 uses of Taser were referred to the independent policing agency for assessment. Seven of those were investigated fully, and all but one were found to be appropriate in the circumstances. The report also highlighted:
Head of Investigations at PIRC, John McSporran, said:
“In the vast majority of incidents where Tasers were used by Specially Trained Officers, it has allowed them to resolve incidents swiftly, increasing officer and public safety, which is very reassuring.
“Moreover, our findings show a large number of occasions where officers have used Tasers in order to limit or prevent self-harming by people suffering from mental health issues, and in some cases have potentially prevented deaths.”
PIRC’s annual report can be read in full here.