A Metropolitan Police officer who Tasered a 10-year-old girl brandishing garden shears has been cleared of gross misconduct.
PC Jonathan Broadhead fired his weapon at the child twice within seconds of entering her home in south-west London on January 21, 2021.
Her mother dialled 999 after the child threatened her with a hammer and garden shears when she confiscated a mobile phone.
He was accused of using force “which was not necessary, reasonable and proportionate” against the girl, referred to as Child A during his Met Police gross misconduct hearing at Palestra House in London.
PC Broadhead feared she would attack him.
He said Child A was sitting in the kitchen when he and his colleague, PC Steven Morgan, arrived and she “almost instantly leaned down and grabbed the shears and got up”.
Chairman Catherine Elliot said: “Having considered the evidence in great detail… the panel has concluded that PC Broadhead’s use of Taser on Child A was necessary, reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances. The allegations are therefore not proved.”
Giving evidence on Tuesday, PC Broadhead 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.”
Commander Jon Savell said: “This is 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. 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.
“Tasers provide officers with the ability to de-escalate situations and protect others from harm. We welcome scrutiny around the use of Taser and are working hard to engage with communities to involve them in monitoring how we use this tactic.
“Our officers expect to be held accountable for their actions but this case highlights the importance of the ongoing Home Office Accountability Review and we look forward to its findings.”
Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a review to examine existing legislation underpinning use of force and whether it provides sufficient protection for police acting in the line of duty, particularly firearms officers.
On Friday, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley criticised the prosecution of a Met marksman cleared over a crash while driving to a terrorist attack in Streatham in February 2020.
He said that it “undermines the confidence of all officers using their powers to keep the public safe”.
But Independent Office for Police Conduct regional director Mel Palmer said on the PC Broadhead case: “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.”