An independent investigation has found that firearms officers who shot an armed man in a wheelchair in Keynsham took “reasonable and necessary action”.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has today published its findings from an investigation into the decisions and actions of police officers from Avon & Somerset Constabulary involved in the incident in Minsmere Road last year.
On Tuesday 7th May 2013, firearms officers attended a house in Minsmere Road where local resident Simon Tandy had been reported in possession of a firearm.
During the incident, Tandy, who was in a wheelchair, could be seen holding a firearm, later found to be an air rifle.
He was instructed by officers to drop the weapon but he didn’t, instead raising his weapon. A baton round was discharged by one officer, striking him in the centre of his body.
Officers moved forward to restrain Mr Tandy but as they approached he again raised the air rifle, pointing it at the officers. A round from a conventional firearm was then discharged by another officer, injuring Tandy’s leg.
Tandy was detained, given first aid and then taken to hospital. He recovered from his injuries and was subsequently jailed for four years for possession of a firearm with intent to resist arrest and two years for possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. Both sentences are running concurrently.
In October 2013, Mr Tandy made a complaint against Avon & Somerset Constabulary about the incident.
The subsequent investigation by the IPCC found that the discharging of both the baton gun and the conventional firearm were “proportionate, reasonable and necessary”. The IPCC found no case to answer for misconduct against either officer.
The independent investigation examined police logs and audio recordings of radio transmissions, interviewed the police officers involved and considered accounts from eye-witnesses. It also took account of national guidelines on deploying armed officers.
IPCC Associate Commissioner Guido Liguori said: “It is evident that the officers involved analysed and assessed a constantly changing and difficult situation. They attempted to interact with Mr Tandy and prevent the situation from escalating but they faced a man in possession of a lethal weapon who posed a threat to himself, the public and officers present.”
The watchdog found that the incident was dealt with along recognised guidelines and that while it was unfortunate that Mr Tandy was shot and injured, the officers involved faced a dangerous situation and acted in accordance with their training and the law.
The IPCC did however criticise the length of time taken to brief the force’s Professional Standards Department as this slowed down the referral of the investigation to the IPCC.
Speaking about the conclusion of the independent investigation, Supt Paul Richards, from the Professional Standards Department, said: “This report clearly shows that the officers concerned acted not only with great restraint and professionalism but also with completely selfless bravery in the way they acted to protect the public and also in the way they approached Simon Tandy with a view to minimising the risk of injury to him.
“After they were forced to discharge their firearms they immediately took on the role of saving his life. I commend them all for their actions on that day.
“I am grateful to the IPCC for providing a fair and balanced report which serves to demonstrate to the communities of Avon and Somerset that they can have the utmost confidence in their police service and they should be as proud as I am of the men and women who take on this difficult and sometimes dangerous role.”