PCs sacked over Taser misuse on man in Liverpool
Two police officers have been sacked after a man was unlawfully arrested and shot five times with a stun gun in Liverpool.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) upheld a complaint by Kyle McArdle who was arrested for urinating in an alley in 2009.
Mr McArdle, 26, was later cleared by magistrates of assaulting two PCs.
Merseyside Police said it welcomed the watchdog's comments and it was now reviewing its use of Tasers.
PCs Simon Jones and Joanne Kelly were dismissed for gross misconduct after a disciplinary hearing while a third officer, a sergeant, had already been dismissed from the force for an unrelated matter.
Tasers and the law
Sophie Khan, director of the Police Action Centre, that investigates Taser use by police, said: "The Taser should only be used when there is a life-threatening incident to members of the public or the police.
"The Taser is a firearm not an officer safety tool and should not be used for compliance. The Taser Policy and Guidance makes it clear that use in a restricted space, such as a police van, is not allowed. And although it has taken four years for Mr McCardle's appeal against Merseyside Police to be upheld, it is reassuring that disciplinary action has now been taken against the officers involved.
"The Taser has the potential to cause serious injury and it is hoped that lessons can now be learnt, not just by Merseyside Police, but all police forces that the Taser is not a tool."
"I feel that justice has now been done and I can get on with my life," said Mr McArdle.
He was arrested in December 2009 when he was spotted urinating in an alley off Elliot Street.
He was put into a van and shot five times with a Taser, three times with the weapon pressed against his chest, leg and upper abdomen.
The arresting officers claimed he was violent and the Taser was needed to restrain him.
Taser barbs were also removed from his chest by an officer despite guidelines which say they should normally be removed by a medical professional.
The officer claimed he feared Mr McArdle would remove them himself to use as weapons.
Mr McArdle complained that the repeated use of a Taser in the confined space of a police van was disproportionate.
The IPCC upheld his subsequent appeal and recommended Merseyside re-investigate, considering if the Taser use would be justified had the victim been lawfully arrested.'Robust action'
Merseyside Police's leading Taser instructor found that the Taser use was "necessary, proportionate, reasonable and in line with the officers' training".
The watchdog upheld a second appeal, finding that the officers should have been served with notices for gross misconduct and interviewed under caution.
In the UK, Tasers are prohibited weapons under the 1968 Firearms Act.
A 12-month trial of Tasers by 10 police forces in England and Wales, with specially trained units including Merseyside Police, began in September 2007. It was extended the following year to all forces in England and Wales.
Those officers using Tasers are trained and when used, the officers have to justify their actions as being "necessary and proportionate under the law".
IPCC Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said: "While we welcome the robust action eventually taken by the force in response to our appeal findings it is a concern that Merseyside's lead Taser instructor lacked objectivity and presented as fact the officers' version of events without challenge."