A report has found that Police Scotland were justified in sending firearms officers to an emergency call from a woman who said that a man had threatened her with a handgun.
During the firearms operation, Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) removed several occupants of a flat in the Glasgow area, whilst pointing firearms at them and a man was initially arrested.
The police operation began at 0932 hours on 15 April 2018 when the woman called 999 to report that a man had threatened her with a handgun, which she said contained two bullets. The call was disconnected and when a police officer in the Area Control Room (ACR) called the woman back, she said she had had a disagreement with a man visiting her neighbour and he had pointed a handgun at her head. She described the ‘gun’ as a black revolver containing silver bullets and added that the man had gone into her neighbour’s flat.
Five minutes later, the police received a 999 call from the neighbour, who reported a disturbance outside the flat involving the woman. The ACR linked this incident to the firearms incident and the Initial Tactical Firearms Commander (ITFC) told the AFOs to make contact with those in the flat and trace the man who had allegedly pointed the gun at the woman.
It was later suspected that the woman had made a false report of being threatened with a gun. She was charged with this and other offences and later convicted of assault and vandalism offences. The man arrested from the flat was released from police custody without charge.
The incident was referred by Police Scotland on 16 April 2018 to the PIRC for investigation, which focused on the police handling of the incident and actions of the armed officers.
The PIRC report concluded the use of firearms officers was justified and proportionate. However, it was found that when the police called the woman back, they failed to record that she also referred to the gun as a “water pistol”. The report also found that the ITFC was not told about several incidents involving the woman at the scene earlier that morning, including an allegation of assault, for which she had been arrested some three hours earlier
It is recommended that Police Scotland put systems in place to ensure that ITFCs are given all the relevant facts when dealing with firearms . Officers involved in such operations should also be reminded to record all relevant information, justifying the use of firearms. The reasons for discounting any information should also be recorded.
You can read the report with findings and recommendations here.