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Police tasering of man who fell off Worcester roof was "very dangerous"
POLICE actions to Taser a man who then fell off a roof in Worcester were "potentially very dangerous" says a police watchdog.
The man, who had a hammer and a knife, fell from an 8ft-high porch roof when he was Tasered, actions criticised as a "potentially very dangerous and completely inappropriate" use of the weapon.
Officers sought to detain the man under the Mental Health Act as he had a knife and a hammer and was threatening to harm himself.
West Merica Police were called to an address in Warndon, Worcester where a 44-year-old man was on a relative's roof causing damage including dropping roof tiles at around lunchtime on Friday, August 10, 2012.
Officers were unable to persuade him to come down and after an hour, they obtained authority to Taser him, although a trained negotiator had been called. As a result of the Taser, he fell from the roof and suffered minor injuries.
The force referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and an independent investigation by the IPCC concluded in September last year.
IPCC deputy chairwoman Rachel Cerfontyne said: "To use a Taser in these circumstances was potentially very dangerous and completely inappropriate.
"The man was not posing any threat to others and was engaging with officers. It is hard to understand why the officers did not wait for the negotiator.
"He was clearly distressed and in my view it was wrong to use force against him while the option of persuading him to come down safely remained open."
The independent investigation found that a police inspector and sergeant both had a case to answer for misconduct as they had not fully considered the risks in authorising the use of the Taser and not waiting for a negotiator to arrive. Both West Mercia Police and the IPCC declined to name the two officers although both have been given "management advice" since the incident.
At a misconduct meeting on March 12, findings for misconduct were upheld against the inspector and sergeant relating to the discharging of their duties and responsibilities.
There has been a significant rise in referrals about Taser use to the IPCC, from 99 in 2010 to 154 in 2013, although this is in part down to continued rollout of the weapon across forces in England.
Yesterday, a police officer was asked to apologise to a blind man he shot with a Taser when he mistook his white stick for a samurai sword.
Colin Farmer, 64, was hit with the stun gun in Chorley, Lancashire, by Pc Stuart Wright in October 2012 as he walked to his local pub.
The IPCC has also carried out a review of Taser use which will be published shortly.
A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "Since the misconduct hearing on March 12, 2014 one of the officers has chosen to appeal the finding of misconduct and the decision to give them management advice.
"Therefore we feel it is inappropriate for us to comment further at this time because the findings in this case could yet change. Once this situation has been resolved, we will be able to give West Mercia's position on this case."
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