Moment police officer tasers 10-year-old girl carrying garden shears, as PC is cleared of gross misconduct

30 November 2023, 14:52 | Updated: 1 December 2023, 09:36

Police officer tases girl carrying shears

By Kit Heren

This is the moment a Met police officer shoots a taser at a ten-year-old girl, with the footage released after the PC was cleared of gross misconduct.

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PC Jonathan Broadhead of the Met used the taser on the girl in January 2021 twice after she had picked up a pair of garden shears during an altercation which took place at a property in south-west London.

Footage shows the officer coming into the house and tasering the girl, as she was going up the stairs.

She was not hurt but was taken to hospital as a precaution.

PC Broadhead was accused of using force against the child which was "not necessary, reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances".

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But a disciplinary panel found on Thursday that PC Broadhead's actions were "necessary, reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances."

The panel's chairwoman, Catherine Elliot said: "The panel concludes that in discharging the first Taser, Pc Broadhead's action was based upon his honestly held belief she presented a risk to himself and others, and that this belief was reasonable in all the circumstances...

"It follows that when the first activation failed it was necessary and reasonable for him to discharge the Taser again."

PC Broadhead argued that "taser was the best option I had" after the unnamed girl "armed" herself with the shears on his arrival, meaning he and other people in the house were at risk, he said.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, he said: "I was worried what her intentions were with the shears, why, as soon as she'd seen us, she'd picked the shears up. I was worried what she was going to do with them."

10,000 Met police officers to carry tasers by the end of 2022

He said using his baton or Pava spray would not have been "appropriate" alternatives to his taser.

Olivia Checa-Dover, who presented the case against him for the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog, argued Child A posed "no immediate threat". She said PC Broadhead did not properly factor her age into his thinking.

The child's mother, Miss A, previously said she was "shocked" by "the way things were handled" by Pc Broadhead. She said she hoped he would de-escalate the situation.

Footage shows how Pc Broadhead said "Put it down now" three times, referring to the shears, and "Police officer, Taser" before tasering the girl as she tried to go upstairs.

Miss A called police after Child A threatened her with the tools after she confiscated her mobile phone due to a safeguarding concern, the panel previously heard.

She feared the girl's behaviour may have been affected by consuming cannabis edibles and on Monday said that Child A hit her with the hammer after she called 999.

The incident left Child A with "three barbs in her skin" which had to be removed by paramedics and she spent a night in hospital, Ms Checa-Dover previously said.

Met Police Commander Jon Savell said it was "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," he added.

"Although no misconduct has been found, we repeat this apology today.

"The panel found that Pc Broadhead did not breach professional standards based on the information known to him at the time and the clear threat presented, and that he had acted in accordance with his training for the safety of all those involved."

The IOPC launched an investigation into Pc Broadhead's conduct in March 2021, after the force referred a complaint from the Child A's father, and later decided he should face a gross misconduct hearing.

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."

Police said after the incident that they had not identified any misconduct. The Crown Prosecution Service earlier decided not to prosecute PC Broadhead for excessive use of force.

A CPS spokesperson said: “Following a careful review of the file sent by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, we determined that there was no realistic prospect of conviction in this case.

"Our decision took into account all of the available evidence and the officer’s use of a taser in light of the circumstances and the law.

"The decision not to charge was upheld following a Victim’s Right to Review, and we explained our decision to the girl’s family.”

The girl's lawyer said in a blogpost that "although my client was ‘armed’ with the shears, there was no suggestion that she was actively seeking to attack anyone with them".

If a police officer is found to have committed gross misconduct, they may be fired or demoted, among other possible punishments.