Shooting of axe-wielding woman in Edinburgh ‘necessary’, watchdog finds

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A watchdog has found police used necessary and proportionate force when they fired a plastic bullet at a woman wielding an axe after a six-hour standoff.

The 48-year-old was hit with a baton round after running towards officers and a member of the public at Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh in March.

The incident happened at Craigmillar Castle in the south of Edinburgh. Picture: Toby Williams

The incident happened at Craigmillar Castle in the south of Edinburgh. Picture: Toby Williams

Police had been called hours earlier by a man who said he had been chased into woods by the woman carrying the axe.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) said in a report published today that the police response had been proportionate.

The woman was struck on the thigh with a the plastic bullet, temporarily disabling her and enabling officers to remove the axe and arrest her.

All incidents involving a firearm are referred to the Pirc as a matter of course.

In its report, the watchdog said: “The incident began at 12.25pm when a member of the public telephoned Police Scotland to report that the woman had chased him in the woods of Craigmillar Castle armed with an axe.

“Police officers quickly attended at the scene and contained the woman and the surrounding area.

“Over the course of the next six hours a number of police officers and a friend of the woman unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with her to surrender the axe.

“These attempts all met with further threats from her. When the woman ran towards officers and a member of the public apparently intent on striking them with the axe, the armed officer discharged the baton round. She was arrested and later charged with a number of offences.”