- By Liz Jackson & Press Association
- BBC news
A Met officer who Tasered a 10-year-old girl twice after she threatened her mother with gardening shears has been cleared of serious misconduct.
PC Jonathan Broadhead was charged with using “unnecessary, reasonable and proportionate” force against her, a misconduct hearing was told.
He fired his Taser at the child twice within “approximately eight seconds” after entering her home.
The incident happened in Brixton, south London, on January 21, 2021.
The Met Police Misconduct Tribunal found the allegations were not proven and PC Broadhead’s actions were based on an “honest belief” that the girl was at risk.
Responding to this decision, Cdr Jon Savell said: “This is an extremely rare and unusual case. Immediately after the incident, a senior officer came to this address to apologize for the damage caused.” injuries caused to the girl and her family.
“While no wrongdoing was found, we reiterate this apology today.”
He defended the force’s use of Tasers, saying they “give officers the ability to de-escalate situations and protect others from harm”.
On Monday, the hearing at Palestra House in central London heard the girl’s mother called 999 when her daughter threatened her with scissors and hit her with a hammer.
It happened after the mother, who was referred to during the hearing as Ms. A, confiscated the girl’s cell phone.
Giving evidence, Mrs A said she was worried her daughter’s behavior might be influenced by cannabis consumption and that the girl hit her with a hammer after calling 999.
She told the hearing that although her daughter had hit her with a hammer before police arrived, the girl was still at a safe distance from her when police got there and she did not want to be tasered.
The girl, known as Child A during the hearing, was still clutching the garden shears when PC Broadhead discharged the Taser and did not listen to orders to drop them, the panel heard.
‘Worry’ about the girl’s intentions
PC Broadhead argued that “the Taser was the best option I had”, after Child A “armed” himself with scissors on arrival, endangering himself and others in the house.
Giving evidence on Tuesday, he said: “I was worried what her intention was with the scissors; why, as soon as she saw us, she picked up the scissors. I worried her What will you do with them?” .”
Presenting the case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog, lawyer Olivia Checa-Dover argued that Child A “posed no immediate threat” and given his age she was not considered an accurate factor in PC Broadhead’s decision-making.
Ms. Checa-Dover said that in the body camera footage, Ms. A “seemed calm”, adding that Child A “was seen away from the door, further along the hallway” and “appeared to be pick something up – now understood as pulling – from the floor”.
“The officer asked her to put them down, but she didn’t. She walked away from those present, going up the stairs of the house.
“The officer did not speak to Ms. A to clarify the current situation or whether there was anyone else in the house, instead, he entered the house and announced that he was a police officer with a Taser and immediately then used his Taser twice on her. while she was on the stairs.”
Delivering the panel’s verdict, chairwoman Catherine Elliot said: “After considering the evidence in detail… the panel concluded that PC Broadhead’s use of a Taser on Child A was necessary, reasonable and appropriate in all the circumstances. Therefore, the allegations are not proven.”
After the verdict, IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: “Our view is that an independent disciplinary panel could – based on the evidence – find that the officer committed serious misconduct when violating professional standards of conduct when using force.
“We found police provided adequate care to the child by calling paramedics to remove the Taser prongs, perform a partial search, and handcuff her.
“This means the barbs are not moved, which could cause her even more pain.”