Northern Ireland

PSNI Taser incidents 'within guidelines': Ombudsman

Image caption The report analyses 20 incidents involving the PSNI use of Tasers

The police ombudsman has found that in the first 20 investigations completed into the use of Tasers in NI, the police acted within guidelines.

Investigators also found that in most incidents the officers said they used it to prevent members of the public from harming themselves.

The ombudsman's office is contacted each time police use Tasers.

Between January 2008 and September 2011 police discharged the weapon at members of the public 29 times.

Among the trends identified in the report was that in the majority of the incidents, most were at a domestic residence and most took place in the early hours of the morning.

Police Ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, has said the report into the first 20 of the 29 incidents, is the first such analysis of the use of the weapon in Northern Ireland.

"In each of the 20 instances investigated so far, the actions of police were proportionate to the threat being presented.

"There was a clear risk that a member of the public was going to harm themselves or others.

"While the officer's actions in each of these events were correct, it is important that this office continues to investigate each use of Taser," he said.

The ombudsman's office also made a number of recommendations about how police could improve their practices in this area.

They suggested, for example, that the officers trained in the use of the weapon be distributed between rural and city areas so as to minimise any delay in them getting to the scene of an incident.

This issue is currently being reviewed by police.

More on this story