Met officer cleared of gross misconduct over Tasering of 10-year-old girl
A Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer has been cleared of gross misconduct over the force he used against a 10-year-old girl.
After a four-day hearing, which followed our investigation, an independently chaired disciplinary panel found Police Constable Jonathan Broadhead did not use unnecessary and unreasonable force when he Tasered the child.
On 21 January 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, south-west London.
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 (30 November) 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.
We began our investigation in March 2021, after the force referred a complaint from the girl’s father.
Our investigation looked at whether the force used against the child was justified, proportionate and the minimum force necessary in the circumstances; whether sufficient aftercare was provided to her following the Taser discharge and whether her welfare was appropriately considered.
At the conclusion of our investigation in August 2021, we 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.
We 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 we felt it was in the public interest, the Met disagreed with our decision and we believed it would enhance public confidence in the police complaints process.
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.”
As part of our investigation, we examined body-worn video evidence of the incident, obtained statements from the family members who witnessed the incident and the other police officer present and interviewed PC Broadhead.