26 March 2021 | Investigations
Investigation Report: Serious injury following police contact, Kirkcaldy
On Tuesday 15 October 2019, a 38-year-old man sustained serious injuries when he fell about four metres from a balcony and landed on a paved footpath outside a property in Kirkcaldy.
Prior to the fall, police had attended at the property after receiving reports of a disturbance
On arrival, officers were informed that the man inside the flat was in possession of knives and a petrol bomb. The officers attempted to communicate with the man, which resulted in him issuing threats and throwing a number of heavy items from the balcony towards their police vehicle. The officers also observed that the man was in possession of large knives.
Additional police public order officers arrived and used their shields to form a barrier at the front door of the flat.
Police officers attempted to de-escalate the situation by engaging the man in conversation, which resulted in him repeatedly striking the door with an array of weapons and shouting that he would kill police officers and himself if they entered the property. The man then retreated from the front door, climbed over the railing of his balcony, lowered himself down and stood on top of the railing of the balcony below. He continued to issue threats and threw a large knife towards officers on the ground.
Several officers and members of the public then observed the man fall off the railing of the balcony, landing face down on the paved footpath below.
When officers forced entry to the flat they found a number of items, including knives and two petrol bombs inside. No other person was found within the property.
An ambulance attended and took the man to hospital. He was reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (COPFS) in connection with the incident and later convicted. The publication of this report was delayed until these court proceedings were concluded.
REFERRAL TO THE PIRC
On 16 October 2019, Police Scotland referred the incident to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) in terms of Section 33A(c) of the 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. Under the act, the Commissioner may investigate serious incidents involving the police where a person has sustained a serious injury.
In conducting this investigation PIRC investigators visited the incident scene, viewed relevant mobile phone footage, obtained statements from police officers, police staff, medical staff and members of the public and seized and examined Command and Control (STORM) logs, Airwave recordings, briefing papers and records from police systems.
The investigation finds:
- Police were called to a report of a disturbance at a man’s home in Kirkcaldy. On arrival they were informed that the man within was in possession of petrol bombs and other weapons. The man then threw a number of articles from the balcony at officers below.
- Specialist public order trained officers then attended and attempted to get the man to open the door and surrender to them. He refused to do so and struck the door with knives and other items while threatening to kill the officers and himself.
- The man then attempted to escape from the flat by lowering himself from its balcony to the balcony below while throwing a knife at a police officer standing below. The man then lost his balance and fell onto the pavement below sustaining serious injuries.
- The police response was necessary and proportionate. Officers were faced with a violent man armed with weapons, who threw knives and other items at them. On later gaining entry to the flat they discovered petrol bombs.
- Officers conducted themselves professionally throughout the incident.
- The man was solely responsible for the injuries he sustained.
The Commissioner made no recommendations.