Royal Mile siege: Police cleared over taser use

The actions of the officers had been justified, a watchdog said. Picture: PA

The actions of the officers had been justified, a watchdog said. Picture: PA

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POLICE officers who used taser stun guns to subdue a knife-wielding man holding six hostages in a Royal Mile pharmacy acted in a “proportionate and justified” way, a watchdog ruled today.

Professor John McNeill, the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC), was called in to investigate the firing of tasers during the dramatic stand-off on May 15.

Today, his report ruled that the shooting of suicidal drug addict Russell Irvine with two tasers allowed the siege to be brought safely to an end.

Prof McNeill said: “Following my independent investigation I consider that the use of the tasers was proportionate and justified. It allowed police to safely control the man, disarm him and ensure that he did not seriously injure himself, members of the public or officers.

“In the circumstances there was no less forceful method to resolve this incident safely.”

On August 9, Irvine, 32, and his partner Helen Paterson, 33, admitted charges of abduction, assault and robbery at the Royal Mile Pharmacy during a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Irvine and Paterson gorged themselves on drink and drugs while threatening to kill the hostages - one of whom was heavily pregnant - and police officers.

It is normal practice following the discharge of any police firearm for the matter to be passed to the PIRC for independent investigation.