Investigation into use of Taser on man in Greater Manchester petrol station concludes

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the use of Taser on a man in a petrol station forecourt in Stretford has concluded.

The man complained about his treatment and we independently investigated following a referral from Greater Manchester Police and after footage showing part of the incident, which took place on Chester Road on 6 May 2020, was widely shared online.

Officers suspected the driver, who was travelling with a five-year-old boy in the passenger seat, was intoxicated and he did not comply when they attempted to breathalyse him. The incident escalated when police attempted to arrest the man, which resulted in a Taser being discharged seven times.

During the investigation, we obtained statements from the officers involved and an eyewitness and examined footage from the officers’ body-worn video, CCTV and social media. We also consulted an expert in the use of Taser for their opinion on the tactics used.

The evidence did not suggest that an officer may have acted in a way that justified disciplinary proceedings or committed a criminal offence, however, our investigation highlighted several areas of learning for force and the officers involved in the incident. These include improvements to the policies and training in place relating to the use of Taser.

We also considered whether the complainant’s ethnicity influenced the way the incident was handled, including analysis of the officers’ previous use of force and complaints against them. We found no evidence to suggest the complainant’s ethnicity was a factor in the decision to use force against him.

IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe said: “Police use of Taser is an area of serious concern for our communities and we recognise the potential for incidents like this to damage public confidence in the police. This was a very distressing situation that was filmed and shared widely online.

“The officers told us they honestly believed they faced the threat of violence and acted accordingly. While we found no evidence their actions were not in line with force and national policies, we believe work is needed to update and improve those policies so that there is greater clarity about when Tasers should be used.

“We have contacted the complainant to explain our findings and will be speaking to members of the local community in light of the significant impact this incident had. We will be publishing our report and learning recommendations in due course.”

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