LambethNews

Met Officer cleared for using Taser on 10-year-old girl

A Met police officer has been cleared of gross misconduct after he used a Taser stun gun on 10-year-old girl.

After a four-day hearing, which followed an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation, an independently chaired disciplinary panel found Police Constable Jonathan Broadhead did not use unnecessary and unreasonable force when he Tasered the child.

On January 21, 2021, police were called to a report the girl was armed with gardening shears and a hammer and was threatening to assault her mother at their home in Streatham.

On arrival, PC Broadhead requested she drop the shears, but she did not comply and turned away to start walking up a staircase. She was then Tasered twice in quick succession.

The girl was then handcuffed and arrested for assault, but later de-arrested and seen by paramedics before being taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries sustained from the Taser barbs.

The panel concluded today that PC Broadhead had not breached the police standard of professional behaviour for use of force, and his use of Taser was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances”.

Met Commander Jon Savell said: “This is an extremely rare and unusual case. In the immediate days after the incident a senior officer visited the address to apologise for the trauma caused to the girl and her family. Although no misconduct has been found, we repeat this apology today.”

IOPC began its investigation in March 2021, after the force referred a complaint from the girl’s father.

At the conclusion of our investigation in August 2021, the IOPC sent a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider a criminal charge against the officer. The CPS decided not to charge and maintained this decision after the child’s family exercised their right to review.

The IOPC then found the officer should face a gross misconduct hearing for potentially breaching the police professional standard relating to the use of force.

Police forces usually present disciplinary cases against their officers but the IOPC chose to present this case as it felt it was in the public interest, the Met disagreed with the decision.

IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: “Following our investigation, it was our view that an independent disciplinary panel could – based on the evidence – find that the officer had committed gross misconduct by breaching the standard of professional behaviour for use of force.

“But only a disciplinary panel – led by an independent legally-qualified chair – can decide if the gross misconduct allegation is proven and the panel has now decided that the officer’s use of force was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.

“We did find the officers provided adequate aftercare to the child by calling paramedics to remove the Taser barbs, performing a partial search and keeping her in handcuffs. This meant that the barbs were not moved, which may have caused her further pain.”

(Picture: The Met)

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