Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Investigation into fatal London police shooting found officers’ use of force was appropriate

Our investigation into the death of Hassan Yahya, who was Tasered and fatally shot by police in Westminster in March 2020, found the officers’ use of force was appropriate in the circumstances.

We concluded our investigation in September 2021 and our findings can now be released following an inquest into Mr Yahya’s death, which concluded recently (31 May). A jury returned a finding that he was lawfully killed.

We found the actions of the City of London Police (CoLP) firearms officer who shot Mr Yahya were reasonable in the circumstances when considering the risk the officer perceived to his life.

All of the police officers involved were treated as witnesses throughout the investigation.

We established that on 8 March 2020, two Ministry of Defence Police (MODP) officers were conducting mobile patrols in a marked police vehicle. 

At approximately 11.20pm, they were driving along Upper Ground, London, SE1 and came across Mr Yahya. 

They left their vehicle to speak to him, thinking he may be lost. 

Mr Yahya produced two knives and both officers discharged their Tasers.

One of the officers activated his emergency button and officers from the Met Police and CoLP responded to the call for assistance. 

Mr Yahya ran away from officers over Hungerford Bridge and on to Northumberland Avenue where he was met by Met officers, one of whom discharged his Taser. All Taser discharges at this stage were ineffective, according to an expert’s report we commissioned.  

Mr Yahya ran onto Great Scotland Yard in Westminster, where a CoLP officer discharged his Taser and another CoLP officer fired a single shot, which struck Mr Yahya at around 11.34pm. 

He was placed in handcuffs and given emergency first aid by the officers but sadly Mr Yahya was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.16am. Two knives were also recovered from the scene. 

IOPC regional director Charmaine Arbouin recently said:

“Our thoughts remain with the family and loved ones of Hassan Yahya and everyone affected by his death. 

“Fatal police shootings are fortunately rare and lethal force must only be used when absolutely necessary. When such incidents happen, it’s vital that the circumstances surrounding the shooting are thoroughly and independently examined. 

“During the course of the officers’ interactions with Mr Yahya, they made numerous attempts to apprehend him using non-lethal force – including multiple discharges of Taser over a five-minute period, which proved ineffective.

“The officer who shot Mr Yahya said he feared for his life as Mr Yahya moved toward him while holding two knives. Our investigation reviewed all available CCTV footage which showed Mr Yahya stepping towards officers, holding a knife, when he was then fatally shot.

“Based on the available evidence, we found that the decision to shoot Mr Yahya was reasonable in the circumstances, due to the threat the officer perceived to his life.”

At the end of our investigation, we found no indication that any officers should face disciplinary action or had committed a criminal offence. 

Our report and findings were shared with Mr Yahya’s family and HM Coroner.

Our investigation looked at the actions and decisions of the officers involved in the incident, including the use of lethal force. 

IOPC investigators attended the scene and post incident procedure. We examined more than 50 witness statements from police officers and members of the public, along with medical records for Mr Yahya which showed he had been receiving treatment for mental health issues for several years.

However, the police officers who interacted with him on the night did not know about his mental health background.

The Tasers used during the incident were downloaded and CCTV, body-worn video footage and radio transmissions were reviewed and analysed. We also obtained a report from a use of force expert. 

Although no officers were found to have breached the police standards of professional behaviour, three CoLP officers underwent the reflective practice review process over failures to activate their body-worn video during the incident.


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