The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has concluded that police were justified in using firearms to shoot the tyres of a car which had rammed a police vehicle in an attempt to escape and contained a suspect with a history of violence.
The findings were submitted to the Deputy Chief Constable of Police Scotland in October 2017 and can now be published after outstanding criminal proceedings were concluded at the High Court in Glasgow.
The Commissioner’s report published today (8 February 2018) found that intelligence also indicated the man had access to firearms and was planning to carry out an act of serious violence that day.
She concluded that because of the high risk posed to the public and police, it was proportionate for firearms officers to draw their weapons and discharge two shotgun tyre deflation rounds (TDRs).
Officers disabled the suspect’s vehicle, preventing the suspect and two other men from escaping and avoiding arrest.
Police Scotland were investigating a number of firearms incidents which they believed were linked to an ongoing feud. The suspect’s DNA profile had been identified on a firearm recovered from another car involved in the ongoing police investigation.
They had also received intelligence that he intended to carry out an act of serious violence.
Police Scotland then received information that this suspect, believed to be involved in the feud, and two other men were seen travelling in a car at Thorndene Avenue, Carfin, Motherwell.
When officers arrived in the street on the evening of 19 April 2017 and attempted to stop the car, the driver reversed into a police vehicle.
Seven firearms officers pointed their weapons at the occupants and two of the officers fired a TDR, one into each of the rear wheels, to prevent the car from moving and the occupants escaping. Police then arrested the three men.
The suspect was detained for attempted murder and firearms offences.
He was one of a number of men sentenced on 22 January 2018 at the High Court in Glasgow following an extensive police operation.
The Commissioner, Kate Frame, commented:
“The police had reliable intelligence they were dealing with a suspect who had a history of violence and access to firearms.
“They also had information he was planning to carry out an act of serious violence that day and therefore posed a high risk to the public and the police.
“Taking all this into account, when the car was used to ram the police vehicle the firearms officers were justified in using Tyre Deflation Rounds to disable the car to prevent the suspect escaping and any harm coming to the officers and public.”
Notes to editors
In terms of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Investigations, Serious Incidents and Specified Weapons) Regulations 2013, all incidents of Police Scotland’s use of firearms must be referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner for independent investigation.