Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Investigation finds North Wales Police officers used reasonable force prior to man’s death

North Wales Police officers used reasonable force on a man who was injuring himself with a blade to attempt to protect him and others around him, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation found.

Officers were called to the Brandy Brook estate in Johnstown, Wrexham on Sunday 12 February 2017 by ambulance staff, who were attending the address following a report that a man had taken an overdose.

Paul Williams was Tasered twice after police officers saw he was in possession of part of a Stanley knife blade. He sustained a serious injury to his neck during the incident, which the evidence gathered during the IOPC investigation suggests was self-inflicted. He died in hospital later that morning.

An inquest, which concluded recently (10 January 2020), recorded a narrative conclusion. 

Our investigation concluded in October 2017, less than eight months after it was referred. We considered prior police contact including telephone contact between Mr Williams, his family and North Wales Police during the early hours of 12 February 2017. We also looked at the attendance of police officers outside his home address later that morning.

Director for Wales Catrin Evans said:

“This was a tragic incident and my thoughts are with Mr Williams’ family and friends, and the three officers who tried their best to help him.

“The officer who Tasered Mr Williams used reasonable force to bring Mr Williams safely under control.

“The Taser had little or no effect, so officers also attempted to use their incapacitant spray. Given that verbal commands, Taser and physical restraint had not worked, we consider that the use of spray was the only viable tactical option left available to the officers.”

As part of our investigation, we obtained call recordings, the Taser download, accounts from eyewitnesses and officers, examined CCTV footage, and attended the post-mortem examination.

We found no indication that any person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings.

Publication of our findings has awaited the end of an inquest.


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