The use of a baton round launcher by Police Scotland to help disarm a woman wielding an axe was necessary and proportionate, a report by the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has found.

The 48-year-old woman ran towards officers and a member of the public, apparently intent on striking them with an axe, during the incident on 31 March 2018 in the grounds of Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh. About 1831 hours, an armed officer discharged an Attenuating Energy Projectile (AEP) – a baton round launcher – at the woman.

She was struck on the thigh with a baton round, temporarily disabling her and enabling officers to remove the axe and arrest her, neutralising the threat to officers and the public.

The PIRC report published today found that the incident began at 1225 hours when a member of the public called Police Scotland to report that the woman had chased him in the woods of the Castle, armed with an axe. Police officers quickly arrived and contained the woman and surrounding area. Over the next six hours, a number of police officers and a friend of the woman tried unsuccessfully to get her to give up the axe. These attempts met with further threats, before the woman ran towards the officers with the axe.

The incident was referred to the PIRC for independent investigation on 31 March 2018 by Police Scotland. The investigation examined whether the use of the baton round launcher was necessary and proportionate. No recommendations were made.

Following the incident, the woman was arrested and later charged with a number of offences. You can read the report and its findings here.

Notes to Editors:

In terms of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006, as amended, and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Investigations Procedure, Serious Incidents and Specified Weapons) Regulations 2013, all incidents of Police Scotland’s use of firearms, including the discharge of an AEP Launcher, must be referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) for independent assessment.