Woman carrying a knife shot by armed officers – Merseyside Police, July 2020

Published 14 Oct 2021

On 9 July 2020, Merseyside Police received reports of a woman walking down the street in possession of a knife. A witness had reported the woman appeared to be throwing street furniture over. Another witness stated the woman continued to walk with purpose while holding the knife.

The incident log was passed to the Force Incident Manager (FIM), who responded that in the first instance, it was appropriate for officers wearing body armour and using correct personal protective equipment including a Taser, to attend and conduct an assessment. Two authorised firearms officers stated they heard radio transmissions about the deployment and while they had not specifically been deployed, they agreed to support their colleagues as they too carried a Taser.

The authorised firearms officers attended and informed the woman that they were armed police. They shouted instructions to the woman to drop the weapon. One firearms officer drew their Taser. As the woman came towards the officers with the knife in her hand, the other firearms officer drew their pistol and shot the woman. Both officers administered first aid and the woman was taken by ambulance to hospital.

We attended the scene and conducted a detailed examination. We obtained witness statements from police officers and members of the public. We analysed CCTV footage and police officers’ body-worn video footage, along with downloads from Tasers, radio and telephone transmissions and experts’ reports. We compared this evidence to relevant legislation and policing policies.

Our investigation concluded in March 2021. We waited for all proceedings and processes to be complete before publishing our findings.

During the investigation there was no indication that any police officer may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or committed a criminal offence.

We shared individual learning for the attending firearms officers. We advised that it would have been beneficial to have made the FIM aware of their intention to respond to the incident. This would have enabled the FIM to factor this into their decision-making and provide appropriate instructions and direction. We did not consider this to be a formal performance matter, but we suggested this learning could be dealt with through a reflective conversation for both officers with their supervision.

We carefully considered whether there were any organisational learning opportunities arising from the investigation. We make learning recommendations to improve policing and public confidence in the police complaints system and to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.

We issued two organisational learning recommendations under Paragraph 28A of the Police Reform Act 2002.

IOPC reference

Date of recommendation
Date response due


  • Merseyside Police
  • Death and serious injury
  • Use of force and armed policing